NL: Third resilient ornamental horticulture center opens in Rijnsburg

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On March 14, Mayor Cornelis Visser, along with Steven van Schilfgaarde, CEO of Royal FloraHolland, and Peter Koot, team leader of the Katwijk-Noordwijk Police, inaugurated the third Resilient Ornamental Horticulture Center following the earlier centers in Aalsmeer and Naaldwijk.

The center in Rijnsburg is located at the Royal FloraHolland premises in Rijnsburg and, like the other two centers, will contribute to effective operational collaboration to combat undermining activities in the ornamental horticulture sector.

With the opening of the Resilient Ornamental Horticulture Center in Rijnsburg, a physical meeting place is created for partners within the public-private cooperation Resilient Ornamental Horticulture Sector. In this approach, government agencies and companies collaborate to take preventive and repressive measures against criminal infiltration within the ornamental horticulture sector. The aim is to enhance the safety of entrepreneurs and employees. This includes physical measures such as surveillance cameras and comprehensive inspections, as well as sharing knowledge on how to recognize undermining activities. This is the third center to be opened. The initiative began with a location in Aalsmeer in 2022, and the Naaldwijk location opened in December 2023.

Exploiting the sector’s strengths
The strong logistical processes and export position of the ornamental horticulture sector have a downside. The sector is vulnerable due to international and daily fresh logistics. Criminals exploit the strength and numerous transport movements of the sector for smuggling narcotics, weapons, and cash, among other things. Entrepreneurs are not always aware of this, and we see that employees are sometimes pressured or forced to cooperate through extortion. This creates a potentially unsafe working environment, which we aim to prevent. The approach to combating labor exploitation also receives attention from the Resilient Ornamental Horticulture Sector initiative.

Cornelis Visser, Mayor of Katwijk Municipality, expressed immense pride during the opening of the Resilient Ornamental Horticulture Center. “What started as an initiative here in Rijnsburg has now become a main port approach within which we operate as partners with a focus on prevention. We share information as effectively as possible to keep the living and working environment safe for everyone, and a workplace like this is crucial in that regard.”

The Resilient Ornamental Horticulture Sector approach values protecting the beauty of the sector and addressing its vulnerabilities. Therefore, the focus is on prevention by assisting entrepreneurs in becoming resilient. “We do this by sharing knowledge and providing tips. Entrepreneurs can thus take measures themselves to prevent crime. But they can also more easily recognize signs of crime and report abuses. Our goal is to keep the ornamental horticulture sector strong and safe together. We achieve this through close collaboration between companies and the government. We receive support from the Ministry of Justice and Security, Directorate General for Countering Subversion.”

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