Begin July 2018, four (former) Dutch greenhouse horticulturists and the Hoogheemraadschap in Monster sold their parcels to Ontwikkelingsbedrijf HOT Greenport West-Holland B.V. An acreage of in total ten hectare is involved. The parcels will be purchased in 2018, redeveloped in 2019, and sold at the end of 2019 as one modern greenhouse location. By organising projects, like this, the government tries to reorganise and modernise the Dutch horticultural industy.
The whole project is caputred under the banner of #ModerniseringTuinbouw (Modernising horticulture). How do the sellers look back on the process involved, what were their reasons to sell, and what was the added value did the Ontwikkelingsbedrijf #HOTWestHolland offer? This is the story of Ton Olsthoorn, one of the selling parties of the #Waellandproject.
Former bell pepper grower Ton Olsthoorn (67) settled at the Waellandweg in Monster at the end of the nineties. He bought a parcel of 1.8 hectare, including a house and a greenhouse of 1.6 hectare. In 2006 he added a neighboring parcel of 1.8 hectare. "In the greenhouse I grew bell peppers until 2008. Since then I rent it out."
He continues: "Actually, we wanted to sell the total parcel ten years ago, and we tried. The four landowners which are now involved in the restructuring project were already discussing things back then. We realized that, to interest other growers, you have to sell a large piece of land. Sadly, this initiative died quietly; when the crises struck, no grower want to build anything new."
In 2017 Olsthoorn rekindled the plan, together with his neighbor. "Together we had seven hectare to sell; we heard about a grower who was looking for just such a parcel. It turned out to be nothing, but our parcels were back in the realtor's interests. Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Hot found us this way. To make a long story short: the other neighbors joined in again."
Restructuring ourselves would be an enormous job
Olsthoorn calls the intervention of Ontwikkelingsbedrijf HOT 'the solution' in this process. "Sales of four independent parcels would be very difficult in this period; they are all too small for growers who want new construction. And there are few buyers who want to redevelop this lands themselves into a ten hectare location. Selling a car in bits does not work either. And for us, as selling parties, restructuring would be an enormous job. A waterway needs to be drained and rerouted, permits have to be requested, etc. None of these things are our specialty. I am glad the Ontwikkelingsbedrijf takes this out of our hands. And: the Ontwikkelingsbedrijf is in the position to buy the grounds and sell these in one to one and a half year. Without intervention of Ontwikkelingsbedrijf HOT, selling our parcels would have been difficult."