Trade Talk: Van Vliet

There's hardly anything as captivating as the vibrant world of international flower trade. Every day, countless companies work tirelessly to facilitate this global flow of flowers and plants. In our monthly column "Trade Talk," we shine a light on one of these companies, delving into their history, their relationship with us as chrysanthemum breeders, and of course, their experiences with the numerous varieties that Dekker has brought to market over the years.

This time, we're excited to take you to Van Vliet Flower Group!

Anyone even remotely familiar with the Royal FloraHolland Naaldwijk flower auction undoubtedly knows the iconic "spiral staircase" leading to the roof of the auction building. Every day, numerous trucks traverse here, heavily laden with the most exquisite ornamental horticulture products traded within the auction complex. Almost equally iconic is one of the companies to which this "spiral staircase" leads. Located on the second-highest floor of the auction building, we find Van Vliet Flower Group, a highly renowned and esteemed name in the global trade of flowers and plants.

Global recognition

Nearly 35 years ago, Van Vliet Flower Group was founded by Sjaak van Vliet. With his background in the industry and his distinctive entrepreneurial spirit, he saw an opportunity to start and grow his own company into something significant. And he successfully seized that opportunity! With locations all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Baltic States, Czech Republic, and the United States, among others, the main markets for the exporter based in Naaldwijk are established. In addition to exporting flowers and plants to countries worldwide, Van Vliet Flower Group also has its own purchasing office in South America. Thus, the company not only limits itself to exporting beautiful flowers and plants from the Netherlands to other countries but also imports a wide range of exclusive flowers from abroad to the Netherlands and its other target countries. Therefore, Van Vliet Flower Group has earned a well-deserved reputation as a key player in the global trade of ornamental horticulture products.

A familiar face in the industry

One of the individuals practically involved from the beginning is Koos Kuyvenhoven. Now a familiar and trusted face in the industry, Koos began his career at Van Vliet Flower Group a whopping 33 years ago. As the son of a horticulturist, he saw more potential in the global trade of flowers and plants than in their cultivation. This meant he didn't have to think long about whether he wanted to work for Van Vliet. Koos started as a chrysanthemum packer but climbed through various positions to become the manager of Van Vliet Aalsmeer, where he was tasked by Sjaak to build a new branch of the Westland exporter. However, over 15 years later, Koos returned to Naaldwijk, where he has been active as the chrysanthemum buyer since 2016.

Dutch pragmatism and untamed entrepreneurship

According to Koos, Van Vliet Flower Group's success is attributed to two essential elements: Dutch pragmatism and untamed entrepreneurship. While some may find the straightforwardness that comes with it a bit abrupt, at Van Vliet, it has led to an open company culture centered around clear communication and honesty. Though it may take some getting used to for some, this policy has undeniably contributed to the company's success.

Another crucial factor contributing to the success is the entrepreneurship palpable within the walls of the Westland exporter. The ability to recognize opportunities and the courage to seize them have brought the company to where it stands now. For example, Van Vliet was one of the pioneers in Poland, and the company has also been active in other Eastern European countries.

A product to be proud of

For quite some time now, Koos has been the chrysanthemum buyer at Van Vliet Flower Group. Within the company, the chrysanthemum holds a prominent place, alongside the rose, as one of the major product categories offered to its customers by Van Vliet. When asked about his opinion on the chrysanthemum, Koos immediately praises the expertise of Dutch growers. Thanks to their craftsmanship, the Dutch chrysanthemum remains unrivaled compared to chrysanthemums from other countries. "There is a continuous investment in improvement and sustainability of cultivation, and young people are eager to take over from their fathers. Isn't that wonderful?" Koos remarks.


In addition to the product itself, Koos also cherishes his extensive network built over the years. "I know the growers personally and have regular contact with them. By keeping communication lines open, we collaborate on an even better and stronger product, from which we all ultimately benefit."

Be good and tell it!

It quickly becomes clear that communication, according to Koos, also plays a crucial role for a breeder like Dekker Chrysanten. What distinguishes Dekker within the chrysanthemum market, according to Koos, is the ability to position a variety powerfully. Besides a good product, according to Koos, it's also about the appearance towards the end customer, to "make noise" in the market. It is essential to show that you are present, something that, in Koos's opinion, Dekker succeeds in doing well. Of course, the quality must also be good; Koos must be able to trust the quality without any doubt. The success of one of Koos's favorite Dekker varieties, Euro, is a good example of this.

However, according to Koos, Dekker also excels in building brand awareness, "as it has been very successful with the new pink spray chrysanthemum ResQ, for example." It is the end customer who ultimately has to sell it. "If the end customer isn't interested, I don't even need to offer it," Koos emphasizes.

Facing the future

Looking to the future, Koos believes that the high-quality segment of chrysanthemums will still primarily come from the Netherlands, but the share of chrysanthemums from abroad will continue to increase. However, he believes that the innovation power of the Netherlands will ensure that we continue to lead the way. Koos is optimistic about the future, and Dekker is looking forward to facing that future together with Van Vliet Flower Group!