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This website is updated until March 13, 2015. More recent news and further updates will be posted on the website of The Netherlands Institute for Competitiveness: http://www.netherlands-competitiveness.nl/.

The shift in vision of FloraHolland reflected in Strategy FloraHolland 2020 has led to changes in a number of its projects. The company set new priorities for itself as the intermediary entity to stimulate commercial consumer sales. Therefore, it opted not to be involved directly in the chain services. Click here for more information about Strategy FloraHolland 2020. March 13, 2015.

The ‘World Floriculture Map’, created through a joint effort between Rabobank and FloraHolland, was issued in early 2015. The rise in global competition has been seen in the industry over the years. Yet, the Netherlands remains the leading player with approximately 52% of the shares in global export. Click here to learn more about the insight and see the map. January 28, 2015.

Most recent news items “Flora Holland trades more flowers in 2014. The traded volume increase with 1% and because the average pricebase rose with 0,2% the auction saw its revenue grow with 1,2% to 4,4 billion.” Click here for more information. January 7, 2015.

“The Flower Business: the wild Bunch” Neat description of the New York – Manhatten – auction at 28th and seventh avenue. How the flower market is struggling and evolving in a dynamic market. Specialization of knowledge and products seems to be rife throughout the supply chain. The economics christmas special. Click here for more information. December 20, 2014.

Would you like to know how to setup clinical cooperation between hospitals, and how it really works? How to define and implement outcome measures? Or how to build and grow you organization? Learn from the insights and cases from thought leaders like Richard Bohmer, Michael Porter and Clayton Christensen.

Flowering the World Together, Planting Seeds of Opportunity for Members. Flora Holland is endeavoring on a new strategic agenda. Click here for more information. December 4, 2014.
List of old items “Export flowers rises due to France” Click here for more information. October 15, 2014.

“FloraHolland stopping pilots of ‘Non-members can’t auction unless’ policy.” Click here for more information. September 11. 2014.

Updated Teachers Package
(If you are an educator, contact b.mees@thedecisioninstitute.org for an access code)

The Dutch Flower Cluster Package



By Giang Vu. February 2015.

Background Information:

Willy Brandt School of Public Policy is the graduate school specialized in the Public Policy field under the umbrella of the well-known social sciences expertise of University of Erfurt, Germany. Recently the school has also joined the global MOC (Microeconomics of Competitiveness) network and introduced the course “Competitiveness Building at the Regional and National Level”. The Dutch Flower Cluster Case was a highlight among a series of cases in the competitiveness theme.

The case was written by Prof. Dr. F. van Eenennaam and Prof. M.E. Porter, Ph.D. It is a popular case in teaching plans throughout the institutions in MOC network.

In February 2015, we, a group of graduate students from a focal research project of the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, paid a visit to FloraHolland in Aalsmeer. The visit was inspired by the Dutch Flower Cluster case taught in the previous semester. We were indeed very excited to finally visit the site of our favorite case.

We were accompanied by Prof. Dr. E. Aragon and Prof. Dr. P. Collazzo. Our group was led through the Headquarters of FloraHolland with the Auction Halls as the highlight. The functioning mechanism of the auction system as well as its century-long history and role in floriculture in the Netherlands was explained to us. The case had fascinated us during the course about how growers, i.e. suppliers, in the industry gather together to promote the products. The visit impressed us further as we saw and learned more details about the role of FloraHolland as the cluster management association. Modern technology has been employed to allow flower growers and commercial buyers to participate in the auction physically as well as virtually.

Due to the nature of the master program of public policy, the case discussion following the tour was the most essential part of the visit for us. We discussed some concerns about the governance role of FloraHolland in the rising global completion as well as the macro facilitation from the Dutch government. Questions of national and regional competitiveness were also posed to look deeper into the connection among the Netherlands’ key clusters, including floriculture. In general, that visit was the delightful opportunity for all of us to understand the case on a deeper level.



The Dutch Flower Cluster case is a business case on the success of the Dutch flower sector.  Prof. Dr. Fred van Eenennaam of The Decision Institute is co writer of the case, together with writers Professors Michael E Porter and Jorge Ramirez Vallejo of Harvard Business School and with the help of FloraHolland. The case is part of the MoC MBA course and was launched on April 5th 2011. The first teaching of the case was performed at Harvard Business School by Prof. Dr. Michael E. Porter. Prof. Dr. Fred van Eenennaam and Dirk Hogervorst operated as protagonists. The latest version of the case, with minor revisions, was published November 15, 2013.

Currently the Dutch Flower Cluster B-case: The Dutch Flower Cluster in 2014: staying ahead of the curve, is in an advanced state. Completion is expected early-mid 2015. Curious about receiving more information about the Dutch Flower Cluster Case and/or the B-case, please contact b.mees@thedecisioninstitute.org.

Via this page, The Decision Institute offers additional support to teach the case and provides more in-depth information on the flourishing flower sector of The Netherlands and other Dutch Clusters. The website will be updated regularly as more materials are being developed.



The Netherlands has always been a major player on the world market for cut flowers. Around 60% of the world export market for flowers is traded in The Netherlands, with sales of $25 billion of Floricultural products in 2014.

The Netherlands started cultivating and growing flowers with tulips from Turkey by the end of the sixteenth century. As a market for flowers emerged, greenhouses of glass, heated by gas were built and in 1908 the first flower trade organization was founded.

In 2009, there were two flower auctions (of which FloraHolland is the biggest in cut flowers) trading 20,000 varieties, 3,770 growers, 693 exporting companies and 20+ associations, councils, research centers et cetera. The square meters of greenhouse were declining in The Netherlands, but yield was growing through new production techniques.

Production was growing rapidly in competing countries with a more favorable climate and lower cost of labour such as Columbia, Ecuador and Kenya. Most of these flowers were still traded via the Dutch auctions and ran through its extensive logistic system. In 2009 44.8 million flowers were sold in 125,000 daily transactions, most of them being roses, chrysanthemums and tulips.

In 2011, The Dutch Flower Cluster faces some major strategic challenges. Rapid technological developments, for instance internet applications and remote buying, pose a potential opportunity as well as a challenge for the Flower Auction. Another challenge lies in the changes in the cluster network and linkages. Examples are the emerging competition from African and Southern American countries, and the links with economic development of these countries. Increased prices of fossil fuels put pressure on Dutch growers (natural gas for the greenhouses) as well as on transportation, comprising a large portion of product cost.


To get your own copy you can order it at Harvard Business School (case nr 711-509) via the Harvard Business Publishing website (if you are a teacher). If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to b.mees@thedecisioninstitute.org.



∙ Flower Auction FloraHolland: Where beauty meets business – Jun 3, 2010 by FloraHolland. Click here

∙ Horticulture Exports – Dec 7, 2010 by Kenya Citizen TV. Click here

∙ The Dynamic World of Flora Holland – Aug 17, 2011. Click here

∙ The Dutch Flower Auction – A Tour – Feb 5, 2012 by Arena Flowers. Click here

∙ Amazing Red Roses Farm in The Netherlands – Mar 13, 2012 by Arena Flowers. Click here



If you plan on visiting The Netherlands we can help organize a trip to the Dutch flower auction with FloraHolland. The visit can be combined with a visit to other flower-related highlights, such as  Keukenhof, or other Dutch clusters such as the Port of Rotterdam or the Eindhoven High Tech Campus.

Please send an e-mail to b.mees@thedecisioninstitute.org if we can be of any help. A visiting package is available and we can help arranging accommodation and transport.

Visits typically include
∙ Visiting the FloraHolland Flower auction
∙ Case Discussion
∙ Visit to Amsterdam
∙ A company visit
∙ Visit to other Dutch clusters.

For instance
∙ Port of Rotterdam (Transportation, Petrochemics and Dredging)
∙ Schiphol Airport
∙ High Tech Campus Eindhoven


As additional support to the case we can provide:
∙ Short Skype or conference call before your lecture
∙ Distant teaching (guest lecture) via Skype/video conferencing
∙ Live guest lecture at your university

People that could help you with this:

Co-writer of the case Prof. Dr. Fred van Eenennaam is an expert in the field of Strategy, Governance and Competitiveness. See www.thedecisioninstitute.org/academic for his academic positions. He is working with Prof. Dr. Porter and Prof. Dr. Ketels in the Micro-economics of Competitiveness Program, set up a number of leading commissioners and board programs and performs directorships at a number of companies and organizations.

Dirk Hogervorst, Auctioning and Quality General Manager at FloraHolland. Dirk is expert on supply chain management and has a lengthy experience in the Flower sector. He contributed to writing the case and is a subject matter expert on the Dutch Flower Cluster.

Prof. Dr. Pablo Collazzo has extensive academic and professional experience in sustainable competitiveness. He has been teaching Strategy and Competitiveness at multiple academic institutions. Pablo has been Director of Academic Affairs at the European Academy of Business in Society and developed a career in investment banking and later in strategy consulting. He has served as board member/advisor to a number of companies and remains Strategic Advisor in Sustainable Competitiveness for the Latin American Program to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).



The Decision Institute has in-depth knowledge of clusters and our affiliate The Decision Group performs consulting projects, studies and monitors for Dutch clusters and associations.

A shortlist of  other clusters in The Netherlands:
∙ Port of Rotterdam transportation cluster with sub clusters in dredging, shipbuilding and petrochemics (www.portofrotterdam.com)
∙ Dutch Life sciences & Health Cluster (and Dutch sub clusters) (www.lifescienceshealth.com)
∙ Food Valley (around Wageningen university; www.foodvalley.nl)
∙ High Tech Campus in Eindhoven (www.hightechcampus.nl)
∙ Schiphol Airport ( www.schiphol.nl/index_en.html )
∙ Chemelot chemicals campus ( www.chemelot.nl/?taal=en )

The  IMBA class of Prof. dr. Fred van Eenennaam and Prof. Dr. Pablo Collazzo wrote some prizewinning and runner up cases for the Microeconomics of Competitiveness course – case writing challenge at Harvard.

∙ Port of Rotterdam
∙ Dutch Dredging Cluster
∙ Taiwanese Bicycle Cluster
∙ Australian Mining Cluster






The Dutch Flower Cluster Case is taught worldwide. Even Harvard Business School Shanghai the case is presented at the website. Here are some experiences with Case discussion of the Dutch Flower Cluster Case:

∙ Case Teaching for 140 first year BA students at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Response from the Audience: “The last guest-lecture by Prof. van Eenennaam was the best of all guest lecturers we had for the organization & strategy class. He had an interesting talk. We did not even mind that there was no break in between, that nice it was to us students”

∙ Case Teaching at Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina by Prof. Douglas P Woodward. On October 10th, 2011.   Professor Woodward told us “this was the best case I have used in the class. It was great to have the video of the flower auction. The case questions are good for discussion. I will definitely use this case in future classes”.



The country of Holland is formidable. Indeed I returned today from Amsterdam for a business trip. I found the case Dutch Flower Cluster as the most interesting because of my interest in this country, also the international trade that takes place in large scale with the cluster of flowers.
– Oscar Anaya
TELEPLAN, General Manager Operations Mexicali.

The development and technological advancement on this cluster is very impressive, especially the advanced application of technology applied to something as simple as flowers. Excellent design and distribution logistics program including sales and post-sales.
– Karla Coronado
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

A lot of creativity and intelligent way to distribute a primary product to the world.
– Sergio Arceo
Kenworth Mexicana, Country Manager Paccar Capital.

The case was very interesting because it broadens your vision. It lets you see how an industry that may seem very simple and elementary as the flowers can make a 180 degree turn to apply a high level of technology. They use their skills, maintain their culture and innovate.
– Gregoria Padilla
Honeywell Aerospace, Design Engineer.