Articles, Blog

How the Netherlands Led a Food Revolution

September 13, 2019

The Netherlands is a small country. It’s so small, you could fit it into the U.S. two hundred and seventy times. But it’s big when it comes to making food. Remarkably it has the second largest agricultural exports in the world, mainly through being able to produce vast amounts of food on tiny plots. The Netherlands isn’t exactly designed for
mass farming. Because of limited space farmers have learned to eke out as much as possible from the land. With a third of the country under sea level,
the Dutch mastered how to make land using levees and built windmills to drain marshland to create fertile soil. This area just outside of Amsterdam – Flevopolder – is the largest artificial island in the world and didn’t exist half a century ago. Nowadays over half the ground in the Netherlands is used for agriculture. It makes more food than it’s people can eat. But there was a time when the Dutch faced starvation. 1944 – and the Allies begin to liberate Europe. The Nazis occupy the Netherlands and begin a blockade of the North. It created a food shortage so severe, the
Dutch Government encouraged its people to forage for acorns and chestnuts. Tens of thousands perished from famine. After the war, as the Dutch rebuilt, ensuring food security became a priority. The issue was important to the new Minister for Agriculture Sicco Mansholt – a former farmer and a resistance fighter in the war. He would begin to drive changes that would turn farming into big business. Before the war, Dutch farms operated like
those in most other countries. Small plots had a few livestock and produced a mixture of seasonal crops to service local populations. Mansholt wanted mass production and built on a decades-long system of state support for farming. He pursued a policy of land consolidation.
Larger, more productive farms were encouraged to absorb smaller, less profitable farms. It was all about using less labor to improve yields. In 1963 the Government launched a fund to help older farmers sell up and to help young farmers start new businesses. State funding into research and technology such as fertilizers and machinery followed and thanks to aid from the US Marshall Plan, numbers of tractors rose quickly, helping farmers work more land. Dairy production grew fast as cooling tanks and milking machines were invented. In 1960 the average Dutch dairy cow would
produce 4200 kg of milk per year; in 2007 this had nearly doubled to 7,880 kg. Oversupply of milk wasn’t a problem – the
Dairy Board created Joris Driepinter and he encouraged kids to drink plenty
of it. But technical innovation didn’t stop with
machines. The dutch pioneered specialist greenhouses,
creating conditions that would result in many more plantings than ever before. “These greenhouses are in the south western section of the Netherlands and they enable farmers to
grow crops the year round.” “With temperature and humidity carefully controlled, an elaborate water system keeps the crops
properly moist” If you were to put all of the Dutch greenhouses
together today they’d cover an area the size of Manhattan. “Farming under glass, another example of
dutch ingenuity!” Then there was a huge discovery in 1959. The vast Groningen gas field would offer Greenhouse
horticulture a huge boost. Farmers profited from the cheap energy, as
their crops benefited from the heat and the added CO2. The Netherlands now has the world’s highest
yields per hectare for cucumbers, chili peppers and tomatoes; all carefully picked for their
profitability. Reducing water use is part of making efficiencies
too – today some farms use just four litres to grow a kilo of glasshouse tomatoes. The
global average is 214 litres. All this built on a rich culture of farming
that already existed. The Dutch were master breeders of plants and livestock and were
a nation of traders thanks to the ports at Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The State built on this expertise to transform
farming, including a focus on education and research, as part of a holistic approach to
benefiting the entire industry. It hasn’t all been good though – The Dutch
have been criticized for getting ahead with over-intensive methods and using synthetic
fertilizers to boost production. They’re now working to change this In 1999 the country used more fertilizer than
any other European country, spreading on average 500 kilos per hectare. By 2014 though, the
figure had more than halved. By working together farmers, scientists, businesses
and the state turned the Netherlands into a world leader in modern farming. Its knowledge and state of the art technology
will be vital in tackling the future of a rising global population, with billions more
mouths to feed.

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  • Reply Stan February 26, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Sicco mode

  • Reply Loufi303 February 27, 2019 at 5:15 am

    It ain't much if it ain't Dutch 🇳🇱🐄🍺

  • Reply Christiaan Mulder February 27, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Iam Fucking proud to be Dutch!

  • Reply Mr. Dragon February 27, 2019 at 8:18 am

    We are almost the best farmers😎( or we are the best )

  • Reply Luc Timmerman February 27, 2019 at 8:34 am


  • Reply Oli Salsero February 27, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Comparing the Netherlands size with the USA is like comparing Wyoming to Russia. Maybe a more appropriate comparison could be with a similar size state ..

  • Reply Metal Videos February 27, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    not only in WW2. remember the time that the spanjards attacked us? in 1573 til 1574? yeah horrible times

  • Reply Nonof Yourbiz February 27, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Verrijking middels slavernij en landjepik…
    Of is dat niet zo ?

  • Reply Vincent Vega February 27, 2019 at 4:01 pm


  • Reply Mecha Apple February 27, 2019 at 8:31 pm


    That‘s my angry moment for the day

  • Reply iwan February 27, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    I am dutch, but i am also korean

  • Reply AnimeOST on Vinyl February 28, 2019 at 6:30 am

    I love it when at the start he mentioned food for the first time but the clip is actually showing tullip fields.

    I know lots of our grandparents had to eat tulips bulbs to not starve during WW2 but this is going to far lol

  • Reply LarrySuppporter17 February 28, 2019 at 6:47 am

    G E K O L O N I S E E R D

  • Reply Renzo Verhoeve February 28, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Sicco Mode

  • Reply Strongholdfan February 28, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    9:35 so why are the 2 things he mentions next bad?

  • Reply GiFteD February 28, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Stem FVD , als je niet wilt dat dit veranderd 👍🏻

  • Reply Yourigames February 28, 2019 at 6:41 pm


  • Reply Ivan Snellens February 28, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Sicco mode

  • Reply Binozia - Tech February 28, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    why do i feel so proud im not even dutch

  • Reply Binozia - Tech February 28, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    2:55 it sounds like a drunk english speaker slurring his words

  • Reply Jared Goedhart March 1, 2019 at 10:44 am

    What's the name of the track at 0.25?

  • Reply Dani March 1, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    dutch people have entered the chat

  • Reply Zalidia March 2, 2019 at 8:32 am

    C O L O N I Z E D

  • Reply Rob Rob March 2, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Don't forget our wonderful bio industry. So many happy animals who live to the ripe age of 1 if they're lucky. Bless them.

  • Reply CSL 74 March 2, 2019 at 8:53 am

    If it ain’t Dutch it ain’t much…

  • Reply Xehanort11 March 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Give us control to the entire world and a lot of problems would disappear.

  • Reply niels van blitterswijk March 3, 2019 at 8:14 am

    Stille Willem zou trots op ons zijn

  • Reply itami March 3, 2019 at 11:42 am

    opgekankert met deze rotzooi, dit is ons land! Niks over te zeggen. xD

  • Reply twaktuber March 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Kanker op

  • Reply Richarddoetmerwéh March 7, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    First lesson: In Dutch it is Nederland, in English it is: The Netherlands (The low countries). Get it?? The…

  • Reply AverageCoffee March 12, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Too bad our education system sucks

  • Reply M Cee March 12, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    when the netherlands are going down the north states of america would be a great place for the dutch (about 5-6 mil.)

  • Reply Teus March 13, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Sicco Mode

  • Reply Dead End March 14, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    4 litres to grow 1 kg tomatoes versus a global average of 214 litres is insane.

  • Reply stef boelhouwers March 17, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    Nederland is de beste plek

  • Reply Luis Peña March 18, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    And my University is mentioned hooray!!

  • Reply stormzy mx March 18, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    Huts a nivo

  • Reply Geloof Hoop en Liefde March 19, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Proud to be Dutch!

  • Reply krlZegers March 19, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Joris drienpinter? of hoe noemt ie?
    nauw drie glazen melk, heel gewoon

  • Reply Thijs Broersen March 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm


  • Reply Andre Schuurman March 20, 2019 at 6:28 am

    Geen wilde bloem of insect meet te vinden 🙁

  • Reply Steve Deasy March 21, 2019 at 6:11 am

    Why the final assumption that the human population is always going to increase?

  • Reply A.Milly Beats March 21, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    1.35 haha die man ging sickomode

  • Reply IamK March 21, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    The thumbnail are polish soldiers

  • Reply Daan March 21, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    So maybe i am at 12 grade 1,80 meters tall because of the milk it doesn't makes any sense

    It is actually a fact that I am that tall at that grade lol

  • Reply Erwin Slootweg March 22, 2019 at 11:57 am

    it is huge in making food– shows tulips…

  • Reply LR_SMACKER NL March 22, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    0:02 the Netherlands has become much bigger to the east

  • Reply Ana Rodrigues March 25, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Thanks to all gas burnt in these greenhouses, we’re now few degrees closer to climate apocalipse.

  • Reply Justin Strik March 28, 2019 at 1:47 am

    No need to make the Netherlands great again …

  • Reply Rick Dommisse March 31, 2019 at 8:33 am

    it's amazing how any video that mentions the netherlands is spammed with 5/6th dutch comments

    like me. Ik ben Nederlands mensen!

  • Reply YGK March 31, 2019 at 10:29 am

    the netherlands was going Sicco mode

  • Reply RanchoFundo March 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    This is the country that will save us from ourselves

  • Reply Migraine March 31, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Well I was expecting a big food fight when i clicked on this video but atleast ive learned something

  • Reply Ronald DG March 31, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    2:42 Sounds like you picked the wrong accent. We speak Dutch, not Finnish.

  • Reply Defronnie April 1, 2019 at 1:11 am

    Lekker Sicco!

  • Reply jjJuma dndcjnchd April 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Ik dacht dat nederland een k u t land was!

  • Reply Aquascaper MC April 3, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱 i will always be proud of holland!

  • Reply TheHissingDragon April 4, 2019 at 5:14 am

    Dit zijn géén specerijen makker.

  • Reply EricBoer April 4, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Holland das mien merk!

  • Reply YtSquad April 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    I live in the Flevopolder

  • Reply TannerFam April 5, 2019 at 2:39 pm


  • Reply MVE April 6, 2019 at 3:51 am

    😘 Netherlands 🇳🇱

  • Reply Aslaruz April 6, 2019 at 2:18 pm


  • Reply Martin Jansen April 7, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Ruben de Koe, when you mention your First Name in writing, de is written with non capital. And yes they do, but not a syndrome. Just proud and aware. Clearly you failed written Dutch. Duh

  • Reply Coded2 Ace April 7, 2019 at 5:49 am

    I live in the flevopolder xd

  • Reply nohaste4me April 7, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Nederland Praatland…… maar wel gezellig 😊

  • Reply Mystic April 7, 2019 at 9:11 am

    Lets be honest we live of cows if its milk meat or cheese we need cows

  • Reply MilanPro Yt April 8, 2019 at 3:17 pm


  • Reply Roy van der Laan April 8, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    since wwII blackmailed by the US..

  • Reply Kermit The kinker April 10, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Mede makkers wat zijn wij toch een mals land

  • Reply grzegorz wydra April 11, 2019 at 5:47 am

    Polish people work on duch fàrms for 3,5e.slavery continued. And is all Monsanto GMO.duçh çops arresting mothers with 1year old.geoinginiering every day.its like homotherapy

  • Reply momohoofd 2005 April 12, 2019 at 6:21 pm


  • Reply momohoofd 2005 April 12, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I come from the Netherlands

    X X

  • Reply Edmund Garvey April 16, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Those kinky Dutch over producing cucumbers

  • Reply -Gemberkoekje- April 20, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    Comment section is G E K O L O N I S E E R D

  • Reply LEVOTJI April 21, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    We hebben de wereld gered met frikandelen-brootjes

  • Reply Kevin Spee April 22, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    The Netherlands: the largest nationalistic people in the world that doesn’t go around shoving their flags and nationalism down others’ throats without a reason

  • Reply JOHN WAYNE April 23, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    We can thank sicco for the industrial poisening of our food.

  • Reply English Dicktionary April 23, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Grappig hoe op iedere engelse video over Nederland allemaal Nederlanders het kijken.

  • Reply Benja boef April 25, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    V R E T U H H H

  • Reply Daan den Hartog April 28, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    G E K O L O N I S E E R D

  • Reply D H May 5, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Impressive yields, but its quantity over quality. Still prefer fruits and vegetables from Italy, France, and Spain! Much more flavor!

  • Reply Beun007 May 5, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    nice vid

  • Reply Imca vdB May 7, 2019 at 11:41 am

    We should not be so proud of out giant use of fertilizer…

  • Reply Imca vdB May 7, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    I am not Dutch, I'm from the Netherlands. Just a detail, but non-the-less…
    Yes I'm proud of my country. That's why I'm writing in english, so more people can understand what I'm saying. We Nederlanders tend to make ourselves and our country more approachable by speaking several languages, besides Nederlands. We take pride and joy in the fact that we are known to be a very welcoming people such as tourists and businessmen.
    We are proud of our banner. That's why we don't show it every day on our houses. There has to be a festivity or other reason. But when we do hang our banners out, you can't miss it and you know there is something special going on.
    We are proud of our king and queen too. Altough most of us find they are getting too much money, at Kingsday we all celebrate his birthday on a great scale.
    Our history goes a long way back. We are living in a tiny country, but have made our marks everywhere on this planet. Not all to be proud of by the way. And we are still writing history.
    No most of us are not on wooden shoes. Most of us don't wear the old clothes, typical from our region. We discovered jeans long ago 😁

  • Reply Angelie Santiago May 7, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    All full of fertilisers and pesticides. Brazil, Netherlands and USA poisoning the whole world together! Let's be proud!

  • Reply Karthikeyan Jayachandran May 9, 2019 at 8:24 am

    I heard the Dutch eats only snacks. Meh.

  • Reply Green Dream Visuals May 9, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Cow milk is made for baby cows not for humans

  • Reply VeniVidiAjax May 9, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    270x in the US? Lol.
    I know we’re small… but i guess that cant be true.

  • Reply Dewittejager May 10, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    G E K O L O N I S E E R D

  • Reply Gnorts Mr Alien May 13, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Forage for chestnuts? Gasp! It's as if people haven't been doing that for thousands of years or something! Imagine singing songs about roasting chestnuts! How dreadful!

  • Reply papa stalin May 17, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    G E K O L O N I S E E R D

  • Reply S Alty May 28, 2019 at 1:44 am

    The video ended by talking about the need to feed more billions in the future. While its commendable that theyve gotten extreme productivity, they mentioned the few species of tomatoes etc used. I hope they learn about the need to promote worldwide population control so they dont have to grow crops just for high food productivity while sacrificing flavor, nutrients, different varieties to sustain the world etc.

  • Reply Freek Buttz June 2, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Sicco Mansholt went Sicko Mode for food.

  • Reply Cezarina Garcia Menezes June 3, 2019 at 3:19 am

    From Brazil..Admiro o Povo Holandes.. Admirável País! Congratulations 🙌👏👌

  • Reply Hunter Gatherer June 8, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Sounds like the EU's Common Agricultural Policy CAP was tailor made for them!

  • Reply Daan Beekenkamp June 9, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    5:00 that moment I can see my own house in a yt video

  • Reply Pieter Kalkman June 11, 2019 at 6:08 am

    We out here

  • Reply EvilEyebrowBoy June 17, 2019 at 3:36 am

    i love how they got too much milk and their response was to convince people to just consume massive amounts of it

  • Reply Andrew Mihailow June 25, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Imagine if they had the land size of Ukraine

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