THE HISTORY OF HEM ZADEN B.V

Hem Zaden, a family run business, was established on March 25th 1918 by Jan Singer Dzn., grandfather of the present directors and owners of the company, John and Frank Singer.

Born in 1880, Jan Singer Dzn. grew up at his parent’s nursery and market garden in Andijk (Netherlands). With his father, Jan Singer Dzn. produced tulip bulbs, fresh vegetables, as well as vegetable seeds for Enkhuizen based seed companies. The First World War influenced the market price for tulip bulbs and vegetables in such a negative way that it was no longer profitable to continue growing these crops. Immediately after the end of the First World War, Jan Singer Dzn. decided to look for different activities. Bold as he was, he decided to travel to Germany to visit several seed breeding companies. He investigated and discussed the possibility of producing vegetable seed on a contract base. In those days, Germany and especially the Erfurt region, was the seed center of Europe. The positive response Jan Singer Dzn. received made him decide to establish the company Hem Zaden. Over the years, contract seed production was extended with more different varieties but above all, those varieties that could be grown in Holland successfully.

The Second World War made export activities impossible so it was decided to stop the production of vegetable seed. During the war years, Hem Zaden mainly produced peas and beans for the local community. The events and effects of the war had major impact on the company's management during those years. Slowly but surely, the company re-established itself during the post war years and export activities were started again. In the late fifties, export was extended to countries like the UK and the Scandinavian countries.

During the same period, Hem Zaden started its production of flower seeds. In the following years, the assortment of flower seeds was extended and seed production was concentrated in Holland. In the late sixties, the company started the production of flower seeds in different European countries. In 1970, it was decided to take over the “Van der Ploeg Zaden” company. The takeover of this company provided access to the production of flower seeds on the African continent, especially Kenya and Tanzania. It also created the possibility for a tremendous extension of the flower seed assortment in crops like Marigold, Zinnia, Balsam Impatiens, Morning glory etc. In the seventies, the main point of production shifted more and more to flower seeds rather than vegetable seeds. This resulted in the company deciding to concentrate solely on flower seed production.

In the eighties and nineties of the last century, the seed industry went through times of change. An increase in takeovers, concentrations and mergers has reduced the once large number of seed companies in the world to a few. In 1995, Hem Zaden decided to take over the open pollinated flower seed varieties and related sales activities of well-known company Royal Sluis. Once again, this created an extension of Hem Zaden’s flower seed assortment.

In July 2000, Hem Zaden took over the Bolier Herb and Flower Seeds company, which was particularly specialized in the production and wholesale of herb seeds. Hem Zaden was already involved in the production of herb seeds but taking over the Bolier company enabled them to expand their herb seed assortment significantly. Besides a wide assortment of flower seed varieties, Hem Zaden these days also produces over 150 varieties of herbs seeds, which are marketed under the “Bolier” brand name.

In September 2009, Hem Zaden took over all open-pollinated flower seed varieties and related sales activities from US-based company Bodger Seeds Ltd. This takeover also included the extensive Lathyrus (Sweet Peas) assortment and a number of Bodger-bred varieties.

In the last decade, Hem Zaden acquired its position of one of the world’s main producers of open pollinated flower seeds and herb seeds. Sales activities are preliminary focused on producers of pictorial packets and consequently on the home garden industry. Being active in this segment of the market, the company realized that the consumers' interest in buying young plants instead of a packet of seeds is increasing. This development has started in the countries specialized in floriculture and is still continuing throughout the world. Realizing the effect this will have on the companies' long-term continuity, Hem Zaden decided to found a new company called "Hem Genetics" in April 1998.

Hem Genetics' objective is research, breeding and marketing of flower seed varieties and vegetatively propagated material of pot and bedding plants, aimed at the professional growers' market. To date, Hem Genetics has succeeded in developing various new series of bedding plant varieties of which a number have been awarded by All America Selections and Fleuroselect. A major breakthrough in Petunia breeding was the development of the world first naturally dwarf Petunia series Limbo and Mambo. The use of growth regulators are ancient history, when using these natural dwarf Petunia series. This shows that a relative new company like Hem Genetics is able to develop innovative new concepts that benefit the interest of the entire chain. For the near future, Hem Genetics has more interesting varieties under development. The extensive assortment of Hem Zaden of more than 3,500 varieties of flower seeds is an interesting genetic resource for the development of future Hem Genetics varieties.

The vast experience that Hem Zaden has gained over the years in seed production and treatment in combination with the creation of new Hem Genetics varieties makes the company apart from an interesting partner, above all into a reliable partner for its customers.


1918, establishing Hem Zaden

1970, Hem Zaden acquired the company Van der Ploeg Zaden

1995, Hem Zaden acquired all OP flower seed varieties and sales activities of Royal Sluis

1998, establishing Hem Genetics BV

2000, Hem Zaden acquired the company Bolier Herb seeds

2009, Hem Zaden acquired all OP flower seed varieties and sales activities of Bodger Seeds Ltd., U.S.A.