The flax collection was established long before the Second World War by the Department of Plant Breeding (IVP) of the Agricultural University of Wageningen. Later the collection became a working collection of the former Foundation for Plant Breeding (SVP) at Wageningen and was utilised in flax breeding research programmes between1948 and 1996. The collection consists of 947 accessions of both fibre flax and linseed.
The Linum germplasm was particularly utilised for resistance breeding to flax scorch (Pythium megalacanthum), wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lini) and rust (Melampsora lini). Material of the collection was also used for the improvement of the fibre content. The collection was adopted by CGN in 1995 (Van Soest 1998) after the encouragement of a group of four private Dutch breeding companies, who were anxious to see this valuable collection properly maintained and stored under optimal conditions. In 1996 a cooperation was established between the breeding companies and CGN.