On Monday February 27th, the day that HZPC celebrated its 125th anniversary, the Dutch potato breeding company was presented the Royal designation by the King’s Commissioner for the Dutch province of Friesland, Arno Brok. The company also unveiled the new Royal HZPC Group logo, including the Royal Crown.
The King’s Commissioner for the Dutch province of Friesland handed the designation ‘Royal’ to HZPC CEO Gerard Backx, in the presence of mayor Fred Veenstra of the Fryske Marren. In his speech, the King’s Commissioner called HZPC an ‘iconic company for the province of Friesland’.
In a special jubilee book in celebration of its 125th anniversary, the Frisian potato breeding and seed potato trading company notes that its foundation was laid on February 27, 1898 in Bitgum. There, Hette Tjitzes Hettema and his wife Anne van der Meer established Trading House Hettema, a company growing and exporting seed potatoes. The company became successful and in the course of the years moved to Leeuwarden and later to Emmeloord. On April 23, 1919, Jakob Wiersema established ZPC, an association handling the sale and transportation of seed and seed potatoes. Wiersema believed that growers operated too independently, which according to him was not in the common interest. Through the years, both Hettema and ZPC kept developing in the field of potato breeding and international seed potato trade. In 1999 they merge into a new company called HZPC, and a new main location is chosen: Joure.
In a response, CEO Backx says that he is very pleased with the Royal status. ‘What we have learned in 125 years of HZPC is that it pays to look beyond our own boundaries. We did that at the time, we still do it now. We try to use our knowledge and expertise to contribute to feeding the world’s population. We believe that the potato should play a major role in this. For that reason, we are continuously developing new potato varieties. Varieties that do well under the local, climatic conditions where they have to grow. The Royal designation is literally the crowning glory of our work. A recognition for our employees, growers, breeders, customers and partners. For what we do and what drives us. And I am incredibly proud of that’, the CEO says during the festive award ceremony. His Majesty the King awards the Royal designation to prominent Dutch companies that belong to the top of their sector in the Netherlands and have a good reputation worldwide. A company awarded the designation may add the term ‘Royal’ to its name and add the Royal Crown to its logo. Thanks to the award of the predicate, HZPC may now call itself Royal HZPC Group, which includes the subsidiaries STET, HZPC and ZOS. The new logo for the group, that was presented on Monday February 27th, includes the Royal Crown.
The King’s Commissioner indicates that in the past 25 years, HZPC has grown into an international player in the field of potato breeding, seed potato trade and product development. He says that, with more than four hundred employees in 16 different countries, the company exports approximately 100 potato varieties to more than 90 countries. The fact that research and innovation is a crucial pillar is evident from the fact that more than a quarter of the employees are active in the Research and Development department, including at the location of HZPC Research in Metslawier.
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