Glasshouse horticulture in the Netherlands: governance for resilient and sustainable economies

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic


The Netherlands have a strong and competitive horticulture sector, with regional clusters of glasshouse horticulture companies, of which the ‘Greenports’ of Westland – Oostland (near The Hague), Aalsmeer (near Amsterdam) and Venlo (near the German Ruhr Area) are the most important ones. The sector makes a strong contribution to the export position of the Netherlands. Since the 1990s, stimulated by changing societal expectations growers and surrounding actors engaged in improving the sustainability of the glasshouse horticulture sector, especially focussing on reducing energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and land use. The glasshouse horticulture sector in the Netherland is often perpetrated as a successful example of a sustainability transition and is therefore interesting to derive lessons for sustainable regional economic development. This paper studies how the glasshouse horticulture sector in the Netherlands did developed, became more sustainable and what modes of governance contributed to this process? To answer this question, an evolutionary transition perspective and mode of governance theory were used. Our expectation was that knowledge governance (Gerritsen et al., 2013) interventions were important for the sustainability transition and would be needed because of the high complexity of transitions. Dutch agriculture as a whole and specially the horticulture sector traditionally has a strong focus on innovation. Over the years, many innovation projects and programs have been executed, and sustainability innovations have been central to it. These seemed examples of knowledge governance interventions; in our study other modes of governance were taken into account as well. The study entailed interviews with stakeholders involved in glasshouse horticulture in the Netherlands and a document analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventEuropean Conference of the Regional Studies Association, Izmir, Turkey -
Duration: 16 Jun 201418 Jun 2014


ConferenceEuropean Conference of the Regional Studies Association, Izmir, Turkey


  • greenhouse horticulture
  • management
  • sustainability
  • central places
  • exports
  • climatic change
  • innovations


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