03 Nov 2016
Rijk Zwaan drives first stake into ground for new Fijnaart building
Vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan has embarked on an extensive new-build project at its Eerste Kruisweg site in Fijnaart. Former director Anton van Doornmalen drove the first stake into the ground. The project is scheduled for completion in autumn 2018. The new facility is necessary in order to cope with the growth in the company’s breeding activities and to continue to offer all employees an enjoyable and long-term job.
Two thirds bigger
Over the next two years, the Rijk Zwaan R&D facility in Fijnaart is being made two thirds bigger thanks to two new buildings that will be connected to the existing facility. It will house offices, laboratories and an atrium that will serve as a canteen and meeting space. In addition, the existing breeding offices and the laboratories for cellular and molecular biological research are being renovated.
Room for growth
The demand for high-quality vegetable seeds is expected to continue to rise in view of the growing world population. Rijk Zwaan is breeding more and more crops for an increasing number of international sales markets. Much of its research supporting the development of new varieties is concentrated in Fijnaart. Working with breeding data requires specific knowledge and capacity, which is creating new specialisms. The number of employees at Fijnaart is predicted to grow from 350 to 400 over the next five years, and Rijk Zwaan expects to need a total of 1,500 new employees worldwide over the same period.
Pleasant work environment
Facility Manager Leo Woudenberg, who is coordinating the building project, comments: “Rijk Zwaan has continuously invested over the past years. The equipment is up to date but the current building has reached its limits. Rijk Zwaan strives to offer all its employees an enjoyable and long-term job, and a pleasant work environment is an essential part of that. The new-build project plus the renovation work will give us more space and a better layout. The facilities are being built close together and will be interconnected by suspended walkways so that colleagues remain in contact with one another.”
Once the building work is complete, the entire complex will be connected to the existing thermal energy storage system and an extra 300 solar panels will be installed on the roof.
New-build project in De Lier too
In order to capitalise on growth and to further strengthen its market position, Rijk Zwaan will continue to invest heavily in the years ahead. The company plans to invest 250 million euros over the next five years, approximately 150 million of which will be spent in the Netherlands. In addition to driving the first stake into the ground in Fijnaart, Rijk Zwaan also drove the first stake for its new Seed Quality Center in De Lier on 17 October. These new research and testing facilities will ensure that the company can continue to meet the market’s needs.