On the afternoon of Friday 14 September, Rijk Zwaan officially opened its brand-new R&D facility on Eerste Kruisweg in Fijnaart. This extension gives the international vegetable breeding company the necessary space to further expand its research activities.
The construction project, which started back in November 2016, has connected two new buildings to the existing one, resulting in approximately 65 percent more space. The buildings are interconnected by a newly created atrium in the center, which serves as the canteen and a presentation and reception area. In addition to the new-build project, Rijk Zwaan has renovated the existing offices and laboratories for molecular biological and cellular biological research.
Room for growth
Thanks to this expansion, Rijk Zwaan has gained more room to grow and modernize its research activities. Fijnaart is home to Rijk Zwaan’s biotechnological research center and is a breeding location for open-field crops. Around 350 employees are based at the facility in total.
Continuously launching new vegetable varieties that meet the needs of both growers and consumers requires extensive research, and Rijk Zwaan invests around 30 percent of its annual revenue in research and development, equating to approximately 10 million euro per month.
“It takes a lot of people and a lot of expertise to develop a new variety. That’s why I’m so happy with the terrific new lab and all the extra workspaces, but also with the wonderful atrium. The atrium is now the beating heart of this facility – a place where our people can come together, forge contacts and share ideas and concerns. It’s a place for collaboration,” said managing director Kees Reinink during the opening ceremony.
A look inside
On Wednesday evening Rijk Zwaan had invited a number of local residents to see inside the new Fijnaart facility. “It’s important to us that local residents are involved in new-build projects right from the start”, explains communication specialist Steven van Paassen. “We celebrated the end of this project together by organizing a presentation and guided tour of the building, and giving our neighbors a peek behind the scenes.”
On Saturday Rijk Zwaan held its latest ‘Family Festival’ – a special employee event organized once every six years. This year, employees had the chance to show their family and friends what goes on at the facility and the results of all the building and renovation work. At Rijk Zwaan the top priority is to offer employees an enjoyable job.
Since Monday 17 September the Rijk Zwaan Demo Weeks have been underway in Fijnaart. From now until 26 October, the vegetable breeding company is showing its horticultural customers, vegetable processors and retail clients how much it has to offer in open-field crops. Visitors can also take a look at the new building while they are there.
Visual link to De Lier
The extension in Fijnaart was designed by the architectural firm called RoosRos Architecten, which also designed new buildings for Rijk Zwaan’s head office and the SQC in De Lier. As a result, those buildings are all visually linked by sharing a similar look. The construction and completion of the project went entirely according to plan.