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Winners previous editions

2023: Van der Avoird Trayplant

Pioneer Van der Avoird Trayplant 

Van der Avoird Trayplant is a propagator specialising in growing strawberry and raspberry plants. With their innovative four layer system, they grow soft fruit on one hectare to give the same yield as 240 hectares. The surplus hectares are returned to nature in the form of ‘nature buffers’. They capture rainwater in a reservoir three times the size of the nursery which stores enough for an entire year. The company has two sites, in Bavel and Molenschot. According to the professional jury, Van der Avoird Trayplant is a pioneer in research, strong entrepreneurship and system innovations for propagation and production. A multidimensional business with a strong vision and sharp focus, where innovation is in the DNA. One good example is the four layer cultivation at the new site. This site is virtually emission-free, has no carbon emissions and no wastewater. Peter van der Avoird says: “We are very proud that we are able to inspire with our vision: reducing the impact on nature while still meeting the growing need for food. We are working on the food of tomorrow, but thinking about the planet with our farmer’s common sense.” 

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2023: Theelers - Theme Prize

Tea from waste streams

Start-up Theelers transforms residues and byproducts into a new product for the consumer market: herbal tea blends. Theelers arose from an ambition shared by four growers: Corn Bak Bromelia (Assendelft), De Kruidenaer (Etten-Leur), Westlandpeppers (De Lier) and Gova (Nispen). The jury felt that the way they joined forces is a model for the sector. The four entrepreneurs use one another’s expertise in order to make progress together on innovative product development in greenhouse horticulture. Pieter Boekestijn says: “Theelers stands for collaboration, quality and passion for horticulture. We are proud and honoured that by combining our crops we were able to win the ‘new crops, new applications’ theme prize. It’s now time to move forward with bringing our product to market.”  

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2022: Gearbox Innovations - Theme Award

Gearbox Innovations invents, designs and produces smart products in the field of robotics and automation, self-learning software and vision solutions. The technologies assess and report in real time on the quality and growth of the plants in the greenhouse, in order to optimise the cultivation and packing process, save costs and improve product quality. Gearbox was found 5 years ago in a garage, and now works on the digitisation and robotisation of horticulture with 30 full-time employees. All the products thereby reinforce one another, with the end goal of being able to capture the product and crop consistently in algorithms throughout the supply chain from breeder to the supermarket distribution centre, and thereby be able to provide important data and advice.

 The jury said: Gearbox in the Westland region has developed over the past 5 years from an R&D consultancy for horticulture into an impressive scale-up with a portfolio of products from the greenhouse to the shed that also all make use of interchangeable modules. This means they are well-positioned to develop new products in partnership with the end users. A good example of this is the GearRover, a harvest assistant that indicates which flowers and fruit are ripe for harvesting. Gearbox is a master of agile product development, whereby the company always works with the customer to identify what adds value.

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2022: Wijnen Square Crops

pioneer in sustainable energy and cultivation

Wijnen Square Crops grows bell cucumbers and mini cucumbers on 18 hectares and bell peppers on 32,5 hectares on two sites in northern Limburg: Egchel and Grubbenvorst. This scale and the fact that the nursery is equipped with the latest technologies mean that production is professional, efficient and sustainable. Pieter Wijnen does that with the help of professionals with extensive knowledge and experience, because the company manages to retain its staff. The entrepreneurs show commitment in the use of sustainable energy sources. They invested in geothermal heat in Grubbenvorst in 2012, and in the use of biomass at both nursery sites in 2020 and 2021, which means that more than 65% of the company’s energy consumption is fossil-free and sustainable

The trade jury believes that Wijnen Square Crops is an innovative, market-oriented and innovating business that has taken good steps towards sustainable cultivation. Commitment is being shown in the use of sustainable energy sources through the use of biomass at both sites, which means that more than 65% of the company’s energy consumption is fossil-free and sustainable. In order to retain good staff, Wijnen provides decent accommodation for the international employees. Wijnen was originally a traditional family business, and is now a company with a family culture where the employees are seen as an important guarantee of survival for the business.

Wijnen Square Crops has been nominated by Rabobank.


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2020: Prominent Telersvereniging

Innovative tomato specialist with a passion for healthy and tasty

Cooperative Prominent Groep is commonly known as Prominent. The growers’ cooperative has specialised successfully in collaboration, innovative entrepreneurship and the marketing of tomatoes for the international market for 25 years.

29 affiliated businesses are shareholders in the company. In partnership with Prominent they are continuously optimising the organisation, the fresh produce supply chain, the cultivation and the product range. Prominent grows 13 varieties of tomato on 420 hectares in the Netherlands, of which half under artificial lighting, and 150 hectares in Morocco. 71 million kilograms of tomatoes are packaged for supply chain partners and retail customers every year.

Jury’s opinion:

The jury has a lot of respect for the way in which Prominent has developed over the past 25 years. Over that period Prominent has combined collaboration with innovation and entrepreneurship in an impressive way. Setting up its own research, production and processing facilities, initiating innovation and investing in making the processes more sustainable alongside the sale of the members’ tomatoes creates an important springboard for the affiliated entrepreneurs. Carrying out entrepreneurial activities broadly as a collective enables them to make the vital progress that is needed to ensure their survival. In that regard Prominent act like a professional franchisor that primarily exists for its affiliated members. A high degree of openness and commitment is also demanded of these members in order to constantly develop the ‘brand’.

The entrepreneurs’ well-thought-out philosophy, the position as a role model which the cooperative has adopted with the new forms of collaboration, the sustainability agenda for the coming years, the initiatives for ‘Young Management’ and the development of a strong employer brand led the jury to choose this association as the winner of the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize 2020. Prominent is truly a star of the sector, and an inspiration for many entrepreneurs.

Prominent is nominated by Flynth.

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2019: Anthura Bleiswijk

Anthura from Bleiswijk is the overall winner of the 33rd edition of the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize. The plant breeding and propagation business can proclaim itself an ambassador for the horticulture sector for a whole year. Anthura was presented with the prestigious prize by chairman Michiel F. van Ginkel because of the impressive development that the company has undergone, its sustainable agenda and good employer practices. The prizegiving took place during the horticulture sector’s well-attended New Year event in Keukenhof, Lisse. 


Four companies were nominated for the 2019 Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize. They are Anthura from Bleiswijk, Dekker Chrysanten from Hensbroek, Opti-flor from  Monster and Wim Peters Kwekerijen from Someren. All four companies stood out because they have undergone a remarkable development in their own way, as a result of which they can be successful not only today but also in the future. It was not easy for the jury to make its choice, because they are really all winners. These entrepreneurs can justifiably be described as the sector’s pearls.


Ultimately the choice was made for Anthura, partly because of its strong international positioning which has required and still requires a lot of pioneering work. The three directors strive for a healthy business, but are also heavily engaged with projects that do not always have a commercial goal. The concept of ‘sustainability’ runs through all the operating processes. The well-trained employees are given opportunities to develop themselves further, as a result of which the company has a lot of in-house expertise and craftsmanship. That makes Anthura a worthy addition to the list of winners of the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize.


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2018: Royal Lemkes

The 32nd edition of the Horticulture Entrepreneur Award has been won by Royal Lemkes in Bleiswijk. This leading company may call itself the ambassador from the horticulture sector for one year.

Royal Lemkes received the prestigious entrepreneur award for daring, perseverance and sustainable business practices during the well-attended New Year's event on 10 January in Keukenhof, Lisse.

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2017: JUB Holland, Noordwijkerhout

The 31st edition of the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize has been won by JUB Holland in Noordwijkerhout. This leading entrepreneur will act as an ambassador for the horticulture sector for the next year. JUB Holland was presented with the prestigious entrepreneur prize during the well-attended New Year event in Keukenhof, Lisse.

 Jac Uittenbogaard & Zonen (JUB Holland) occupy a leading position in the bulb sector. The company is one of the few in the sector that has mastered all aspects of the flower-bulb trade: from breeding tulips via the cooperative, ‘Remarkable’, to cultivating, forcing and trading flower bulbs for retail, landscape and forcing operations. The company exports high-quality flower bulbs and flower-bulb products, plus many innovative concepts to more than 35 countries.

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2016: Ebben Tree Nursery, Cuijk

Ebben Tree Nursery’s slogan, ‘know-how to-grow’ refers to 150 years of experience in cultivating unique trees and bushes in shapes, colour and application. With the cultivation of 450,000 trees per year, Ebben Tree Nursery is a world leader in this field. The family company is extremely market oriented. The innovative projects that Ebben Tree Nursery developed with landscape architects are both sustainable and unique. The greening of landscapes is a desire that runs deep in the Ebben family.

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2015: Florensis, Hendrik-ido-Ambacht

Florensis has incorporated sustainable enterprise in all its business processes, both nationally and internationally. This takes place at the cultivating locations of the producers of the seed stock of summer annuals, cut flowers, permanent plants, pot plants and biennials in the Netherlands, Portugal, Kenya and Ethiopia. 

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2014: 4Evergreen, Steenbergen

The 4Evergreen Nursery, a company owned by the Grootscholte family, is among the most innovative paprika farms in the Netherlands, with various cultivation locations in Steenbergen, Sint Annaland and Westland. With its vision of sustainability, market orientation and yield, the company has grown in size in recent years to 60 hectares. 

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2013: Sion, De Lier

Eric Moor of Sion in De Lier shows entrepreneurial skill partly through its special innovative marketing strategy for Phalaenopsis. The key words that describe the organisation are: market oriented, innovative, collaboration and an example for the sector.  

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2012: Enza Zaden, Enkhuizen

Enza Zaden is an independent family company that specialises entirely in propagation of vegetable crops. With 34 sales outlets and research centres on all continents, the company is a leading global player in seed propagation. 

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2011: Koppert Cress, Monster

Koppert Cress, under the inspiring leadership of Managing Director Rob Baan, is known for its excellent marketing of micro-vegetables. Marketing is the driving force of all business activities. The assortment is totally determined by the needs of its customers. 

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2010: Fruit-growing company Vernooy, Cothen

The fruit-growing company, Vernooy, from Cothen along the Kromme Rijn, is a creative and inventive business. Theo and Martine Vernooy are entrepreneurs with a clear vision of cherry cultivation.

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2009: Van den Berk Tree Nurseries, Sint-Oedenrode

Van den Berk Tree Nurseries, situated in Sint-Oedenrode, has been cultivating lane trees, conifers, shaped trees, rhododendron and large-sized single trees and bushes for more than 60 years.

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2008: Dutch Flower Group

Dutch Flower Group specialises in segmented market orientation. With the other companies in the group, Dutch Flower Group serves a diversity of market segments – from exclusive florists to department stores and professional wholesalers. 

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2008: Purple Pride, Zevenhuizen

Theme prize collaboration

The collaborative efforts of the seven entrepreneurs, Gebr. Van Duijn, Greenbrothers and P. de Jong, are essential for the development of aubergine cultivation. 

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2008: Van der Hoorn Orchids, First gas-less greenhouse

Encouragement prize

The ‘Eerste kas zonder Gas’ (First Gas-less Greenhouse) project started with the building of 15,000-square-metres of greenhouses in 2006 in the Dutch town of Ter Aar. Van der Hoorn opted for a semi-closed greenhouse with underground thermal energy storage.

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2007: Oriental Group, Bleiswijk

With its niche products, Bonsai and Lucky bamboo, Oriental Group has managed to build and ultramodern, successful company. 

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2007: SBW International, Roelofarendsveen

Theme prize collaboration

SBW International is working closely with JHL Young Plants, Micro Cultures and Naktuinbouw on a research project involving an innovative system to deliver high-grade, safe and bacteriologically-tested seed stock to market. 

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2007: Flower 4 All

Encouragements Prize

The entrepreneurs of the growers’ cooperative, Flower 4All, and Peter Vijverberg in particular, took a huge risk with the innovative system, Mobyflowers. Started in 2007, Mobyflowers was the first mobile cultivation system for Chrysanthemums. 

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2006: Van der Starre Group, Boskoop

Van der Starre stands out for the professional way it markets its products: 320 varieties of vines and climbing plants. Van der Starre is a leading force and trendsetter in the tree nursery sector. 

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2006: Prominent, De Lier

Winner theme prize collaboration

The strength of Prominent stems from the absence of ‘without obligation’ in collaboration. All partners have a duty to make ongoing contributions to the task forces and to take part in the excursions. This ensures a continual exchange of knowledge.

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All winners

2005:     Themato CV, Berkel en Rodenrijs

2005:     LTO Project Seizoensarbeid, theme prize labour

2005:     Maatschap Verkooijen, Ospel, encouraging prize

2004:     Rijnplant, De Lier

2004:     Projectgroep Gezond Beleid, themaprijs arbeid

2003:     Teboza BV, Helden

2003:     OZ Export en Hamifleurs, Naaldwijk, theme prize arbeid

2002:     Handelskwekerij Exceptio, Boijl

2002:     The Greenery, Barendrecht, theme prize marketing

2001:     Biologisch tuinbouwbedrijf Gebr. Verbeek, Velden

2000:     KP Holland, Naaldwijk

2000:     C. van Leeuwen Champignons, Swolgen, theme prize marketing

2000:     Jan Robben Aardbeien, encouriging prize

1999:     Mts Janssen-Kusters, Venlo

1999:     C. Uijttewaal, Bemmel, themaprijs milieu

1998:     VDE Plant, Woubrugge

1998:     Gebr. Lansbergen, Pijnacker, theme prize enviroment

1997:     Rijk Zwaan, De Lier

1996:     Ned. Champignonkwekersvereniging CNC, Gennep

1995:     Bomencentrum Nederland, Baarn

1994:     Gebr. Bunnik, Bleiswijk

1993:     Van Staaveren Concern, Aalsmeer

1992:     Koppert Biological, Berkel en Rodenrijs

1991:     Stichting tot Bevordering Bloementeelt, Bovensmilde

1990:     Rockwool Grodan, Roermond

1989:     Koninklijke Brinkman, ’s-Gravenzande

1988:     Fides Holland, De Lier

1987:     Van den Hoek’s Broeiproevenbedrijf, ’t Veld

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