The one hundred most prominent companies in the horticulture industry

The Hillenraad100 provides an overview of the 100 leading companies in the knowledge and capital-intensive greenhouse and horticulture industries. The list paints a picture of the full cluster, divided into seven segments. Ever since 2003, the Hillenraad100 has been the monitor when it comes to the developments in the Dutch horticulture industry. The Hillenraad100 observes, interprets and looks ahead.

Only 1% of the companies in the Dutch horticulture industry make it into the Hillenraad100. A listing in the Hillenraad100 is an acknowledgement of leading entrepreneurship. These companies show vision, daring and entrepreneurship, and are a guiding light to the sector. The Hortigala of the Year, during which the new listings are announced, is an important ‘photo opportunity’ for the horticulture industry.

The Hillenraad100 research team analyses the companies’ performances on the basis of a unique and proprietary business model that is continuously adapted. We make choices in what we consider to be important developments for the future and we assess how companies anticipate them. An Committee of Experts of professionals assists us in this process.

Criteria and model

Balancing the scales: the Hillenraad100 model

Hillenraad100 assesses the companies on the basis of strategy, market position, organisational performance, innovation and corporate social responsibility. The business model entails a wider scope and assesses 19 factors in total.

The Hillenraad100 is an open competition. Any company complying with the admittance criteria can register and compete for a listing. A precondition is that the company’s main activity must be exercised within the horticulture industry in the Netherlands, whereby its Dutch activities must represent a substantial part of its total business activities. Companies must have also been in business for at least five years and in assessing this factor, the Hillenraad100 bases its judgement on collective group activities; sister companies are not eligible for a separate listing. Finally, sector and trade organisations, as well as generic service providers (i.e. banks, insurance companies or accountants), are excluded from the list.

Hillenraad itself is looking for nominees as well, and bases its assessments on information from public sources, press releases, databanks for business information, and, of course, the data submitted by the companies themselves. Our goal is to assess and rank the companies in a positive, but critical manner.

Committee of Experts

Technical analysis and market sentiment

In addition to the research conducted by Hillenraad Partners, the value of the Hillenraad100 is in no small part due to the contribution of the Committee of Experts. Based on their specific areas of expertise, these wonderfully well-informed specialists assess the selected businesses. They not only employ technical analyses, but also add the market sentiment, as though the company was quoted on the stock market.

The Committee of Experts has been broadly composed. Thanks to their experience, contacts and inside information, the members of the Committee of Experts are able to properly evaluate the various nominated businesses. The knowledge and expertise of the Committee of Experts is a valuable addition to all the other resources employed by the Hillenraad100.

The 2017 Committee of Experts

  • Silke Tijkotte (Lead & founder Let it Grow)
  • Harm Maters (Chairman of AVAG)
  • Lars Boellaard Managing partner& civil-law notary at Westland Partners)
  • Cees Uitbeijerse (Accountant, horticulture specialist for BDO Accountants & Adviseurs)
  • Gert Mulder (Director of GroentenFruit Huis)
  • Arnold Hordijk (Administrator, Adviser and Supervisory Director)
  • Martien Penning (Founder Hillenraad100)
  • Annemieke Roobeek (MeetingMoreMinds, Nyenrode Professor, several supervisory board posts, including ABN AMRO and KLM)
  • Nico van Ruiten (Administrator LTO Glaskracht/former entrepreneur)
  • Niels Louwaars (Managing Director of Plantum)
  • Jan van den Heuvel (Entrepreneur, founder of Hagé)


In the sights of the horticulture industry

Receive the colour photograph of the horticulture industry

The 2017 edition of the Hillenraad100 magazine was published on 3 November 2017. You can order a copy of the 2017 edition with your data printed on it. A copy of the magazine costs €15 plus €5 for shipping and handling. The magazine will be sent to you by post with the invoice enclosed.

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Hortigala 2017

On Friday, 3 November, the 15th edition of the annual Hortigala was held in the Rivièra Hall at Blijdorp Rotterdam Zoo. The traditional highlight of the evening was the announcement of the Hillenraad100. As surprising new leader of the list, Koppert Biological Systems was invited onto the stage. For the first time in its 50 years of existence, this business beat Enza Zaden and Nature’s Pride into second and third place respectively. The 500+ business category also has a new number one: Rijk Zwaan. There were also awards for the best Challenging Concept 2017, the Family Business of the Year and the Sustainability Prize.

As always, the venue of the annual Hortigala was chosen according to the topical theme of the gala. This year the theme was ‘Eat or be eaten’ and the dinners were consequently served in the Rivièra Hall at Blijdorp Rotterdam Zoo. Martien Penning, initiator of the Hillenraad100, explained: ‘Under the influence of internationalisation and digitisation we are seeing the horticultural playing field changing faster than ever before. In order to survive, there are two strategies generally speaking: either become a very strong powerhouse or acquire an essential position in the global network as a nodal firm. The parallels with the animal kingdom are evident. You either survive by being big and strong or you survive through cooperation with others. In any case, you have to make sure you can’t be ignored.’ Lucas Vos from Royal FloraHolland stated that he is proud to be a co-host at the Hortigala 2017: ‘The Hortigala is the place where leading Dutch horticulture businesses, operating both nationally and internationally, come together. Royal FloraHolland supports Hillenraad by identifying and acknowledging good to excellent entrepreneurship in the horticulture and greenhouse horticulture industry.’

New model, new ranking
Due to the rapidly changing world, a completely new model was used this year to compile the Hillenraad 100, with aspects such as innovative power and strategic vision playing a more important role than ever before. Based on that model, Koppert Biological Systems and Rijk Zwaan emerged as leading businesses in the Hillenraad100 and the 500+ category respectively. The remainder of the new Top 10 of the Hillenraad 100 in 2017 is as follows: Enza Zaden (2), Nature’s Pride (3), Agro Care (4), Anthura (5), Beekenkamp Groep (6), Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds (7), Dümmen Orange (8), Ridder-HortiMaX (9) and Florensis (10). The new number 100 is Dijk van Dijk, which attracted attention through its marketing and product innovations. Martien Penning expects the new model to produce increasingly fast ascents and declines in the coming years: ‘We are seeing the emergence of large global players, the emergence of private equity, the unpredictability of consumer trends and new technologies. This dynamism is increasing and some businesses can keep up better than others. Businesses such as Koppert Biological Systems and Rijk Zwaan lead the way in this respect. These are powerhouses par excellence and they serve as shining examples for every Dutch horticulture business.’

Connectivity as a survival strategy
Between the various award presentations, wildlife veterinarian Martine van Zijll Langhout gave an inspiring keynote speech based on the survival theme. She had this to say: ‘Whether you are an elephant or an ant, everything revolves around connectivity. Animals know instinctively what their ideal ecosystem is. In order to retain control in a threatening and insecure environment, you need to stay alert and know your surroundings, your talents and your limitations. However big or small you are, you are always part of a larger whole. You have to know your place.’

Challenging Concepts
In order to stress that the well-established organisations cannot rest on their laurels, this year the Hillenraad100 has devoted extra attention to Challenging Concepts. Which ideas, technologies, services or other innovations can shake up the existing markets? From the three Challenging Concepts of 2017, HortiKey was declared to be potentially the most challenging: ‘The technology behind HortiKey can bring about huge breakthroughs in cultivation by establishing the relationship between genetics and growth.’

Sustainability Prize and Family Business
The Sustainability Prize was presented by Hortigala partners Rabobank and was awarded to Ter Laak Orchids, partly due to their smart application of the daylight greenhouse. The business Heemskerk Fresh & Easy received the title of Family Business of the Year from BDO, the co-sponsor of the Hortigala. According to the investigators, the new generation that is now running the business is taking exactly the right steps, with new products, marketing based on data analysis and consumer research.

The new Hillenraad100 can be obtained free of charge from the Hillenraad stand at the FloraHolland House during the Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair being held from 8 to 10 November. The magazine can also be ordered from hillenraad100.nl

Entrepreneurs do not wait until tomorrow

De Hillenraad100 is an open competition

To be listed in the Hillenraad100, five admittance criteria apply. Do you think that you have a good chance to be listed in the Hillenraad100? Then complete the registration form. Once we have received your form, you will be included in the preliminary studies. Your application could possibly lead to inclusion in the Hillenraad100.

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