Tulips, animal welfare and the environmentally friendly cultivation of tomatoes
Cheese balls, of course, cannot be missing from the Netherlands' exhibition space. Two large stands flank the entrance to Hall 18 on the right and left: Edam and Gouda in all possible sizes and flavors. Cheese from Holland has long been available with red and green pesto, as beer cheese or with whiskey, port or mustard seeds and made from goat's milk. Those who seriously want to eat their way through the tasting bowls unfortunately hardly have any capacity left for the roasted veal that is prepared in the show kitchen next door.
A photo with Mrs. Antje
The Netherlands has been represented at the International Green Week every year since 1952, and always in Hall 18, West Entrance. Mrs. Antje greets you as a picture displayer, in front of which you can slip into giant wooden clogs and take a photo of yourself with a dummy cheese wheel in your arms. There always has to be a bit of fun in Holland, even if the country takes its tradition quite seriously.
The problem with nitrogen
At IGW 2023, it is attempting the balancing act: visitors should be able to find the iconic products that Holland stands for - tulips, tomatoes, cheese, coffee, stroop waffles. At the same time, however, there is also a change in thinking in the Netherlands: the highly successful, highly efficient agricultural industry that has existed for decades is now pushing the country, which with its 41,500 square kilometers is smaller than Lower Saxony (47,000 square kilometers), to its limits. Nitrogen pollutes soils and groundwater, animal welfare is an issue and has been improved for years in exemplary projects, and of course climate protection and sustainability in general also play a role in Dutch society.
Produce, sell and consume locally
The exhibitors in Hall 18 also want to take this trend into account and show what's happening: Things are happening in the land of the colorful tulips. Sustainable cultivation, shorter production routes, local economic cycles are to flank the mass industry, and in some cases even replace it. The centerpiece of the trade fair presentation is therefore a large play area of the "Voedsel van Dichtbij" (Food from Next Door) alliance, which shows who is involved in a local economic cycle - from consumers with a tight budget to government employees to store owners and canteen cooks.
How tomatoes grow better
Next door, you can get an explanation of the "circular greenhouse." Here, tomato plants grow on rockwool, which in turn is processed into road material after the harvest cycle. LED lights reduce electricity consumption. Irrigation is 70 to 80 percent rainwater, which is kept in circulation by recycling it within the greenhouse. For plant protection, mites and insects are used for biological pest control. Strawberries are also increasingly planted under glass in this way - which protects the plants from fickle weather and makes work easier for the harvesters because they no longer have to stoop to the ground.
Western Europe's first tea plantation
A brand new product from the Netherlands also stands for short transport distances: Tea. The manufacturer Local Tea operates the first large tea plantation in Western Europe in Zundert, with plants that can withstand the somewhat fresher climate. The "Nederlandse Thee" is sold as black tea, green tea, algae tea, ginger and chamomile.
Cheese, tulips and tea from the Netherlands are available to visitors in Hall 18.