RHI Webinar: The Dutch ‘Greenhouse Revolution’ and agricultural credit infrastructure, c. 1910-1970
It is our great pleasure to welcome back Dr. Harm Zwarts to the RHI Seminar April 8 2021. Dr. Zwarts completed his PhD here with RHI last year, and now works as an assistant professor of social and economic history at the University of Groningen. To attend, please register via email
During the twentieth century the Netherlands experienced what has been referred to as a ‘Greenhouse Revolution’. Dutch greenhouse acreage increased from merely 46 hectares in 1904 to no less than 6,287 hectares in 1966. By the mid-twentieth century one-fourth of all world greenhouse acreage was located in the Netherlands. How can this be explained? Because of the capital-intensive nature of greenhouse farming and the perishable nature of greenhouse products, the success of greenhouse horticulture depends, more than other agricultural subsectors, on access to credit and the ability to rapidly reinvest earned cash. This paper therefore attributes the Dutch Greenhouse Revolution, firstly, to the system of cooperative auctions, and, secondly, to the well-functioning credit infrastructure, consisting of cooperative rural banks and government-led guarantee funds.
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