100 years of Rijk Zwaan

100 years with people, pioneering and 'moving forward'! We celebrate our next century. Discover our story.

It is a history filled with the stories of our people who developed an initial idea, made a change, or planted the very first seed that led to the innovations of Rijk Zwaan today. Join us in celebrating the start of our next century!


Where it all

1924 – Shop in Rotterdam by Rijk Zwaan
Mr. Rijk Zwaan was a true entrepreneur. In 1924 he opened a shop selling vegetable, flower and crop seeds in Rotterdam and he soon started developing new vegetable varieties himself. In the decades since then, new generations have continued his work.

In the first forty years, the focus was on the Dutch horticultural market, with some exports to neighboring countries. In 1964, the first subsidiary opened in Germany. This was followed by Rijk Zwaan France in 1982. From the '90s onwards, growth exceeded everyone’s expectations.



1989 - Management Buy out
After a short period of ownership by British Petroleum (BP) between 1986 and 1989, Rijk Zwaan once again became an independent family-owned company runned by three families. That’s also when our company’s primary objective was formulated: to offer employees an enjoyable and long-term job with attractive working conditions.

Due to the increasing world population, especially in Africa and Asia, the demand for vegetables and fruits is rising. Rijk Zwaan anticipates this trend by breeding vegetable and fruit varieties adapted to local climates, cultivation methods, and consumer preferences.


From seed
till consumer

‘And… does it taste good?’ Quite a logical question if you are talking about a new tomato, melon or pepper. Or not? For a long time, flavour wasn’t so important. But that changed in the 1990s due to the close collaboration with retailers. This turnaround resulted in many new market and business developments.

Every day, millions of people eat vegetables and fruits grown from our seeds. This responsibility inspires us to constantly look ahead and continue innovating for customers and supply chain partners.



Rijk Zwaan is now active in more than 100 countries. Yet we continue to pioneer in all those countries, now with new techniques, ideas and solutions.

Breaking new grounds

The motto of Rijk Zwaan, ‘moving forward,’ is ingrained in the company’s DNA. With an eye for innovation and progress, Rijk Zwaan continues to pioneer and breaking new grounds. We are very grateful for the contributions of employees, customers, and partners to its success and looks forward to many fruitful years of collaboration and growth. This is the first day of our second centenary!


2024 - Rijk Zwaan

3900 employees across more than 30 countries. Our people have planted the very first seed and foster their growth. They have continuously been creating opportunities for others around us, and together – they have made Rijk Zwaan what it is today.


At Rijk Zwaan, people come first. When celebrating our Centenary, we also pay attention to the dreams of people with disabilities and their loved ones. We have selected two charities for this purpose. Do you join us?

Tomorrow starts

Better flavour, resistant to plant diseases or suitable for a newer cultivation system. We are constantly adapting our varieties. Climate change and new environmental requirements are also an integral part of this. We look at five green developments that will determine the future.

Breeding in
Africa for Africa

Rijk Zwaan is active in the whole of Africa. To develop the true potential of this special continent, we take a long-term approach.

Comittee for
Development Cooperation

By supplying high-quality seeds, sharing knowledge and providing intensive guidance, we aim to help growers in low and middle income countries to evolve personally and professionally, to improve their income and to stimulate vegetable consumption. Did you know that COS was founded by Director Maarten Zwaan during Rijk Zwaan’s 75th anniversary in 1999? So this year, COS is also celebrating an anniversary!