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Dutch tradeshow HortiContact: energy, LEDs, and labor

The curtains rose early when the HortiContact tradeshow in Gorinchem's Evenementenhal opened at an unconventional early time of 10:00 AM on Tuesday morning—this year witnessed a change in operating hours, with the exhibition open during the traditional hours from 13:00 to 21:00 on Wednesday and during daytime, from 10:00 to 18:00 on Tuesday and Thursday. It didn't stop over 300 exhibitors from exhibiting. Many LED solutions, energy novelties, and a focus on labor and automation characterized the tradeshow.

Despite a calm start on Tuesday, expectations ran high for increased foot traffic as the day progressed. The National Horti Symposium kicked off the day on a positive note, preceding the second day of the exhibition. Even on Tuesday, seasoned horticulturists flocked to the venue early, perhaps spurred by recent media attention on the future of the industry. Among them were numerous veterans eager to gauge the sector's current standing.

Following a full day, with doors closing at 18:00, the prevailing sentiment seemed to be a mix of apprehension and determination. "Without struggle, there is no victory," summarized a tomato grower during one of the many informal conversations held throughout the event—a sentiment resonating with many.

Sprinkler Energy will help growers get rid of gas by cleverly using the water storage next to the greenhouse. The water storage becomes a primary heat source, as they already do at large distribution centers such as Kruidvat for fire protection purposes.

Houweling Group and IntraHorti are expanding globally.

Innovations in Labor and Energy
For those envisioning the future or at least striving towards it, HortiContact offered a plethora of new tools and solutions to address familiar challenges. From labor, where housing options were showcased (including a fully furnished unit by IMC), to mechanization (highlighted by ISO Group), and energy, where technological advancements continue unabated.

The exhibition floor buzzed with providers offering energy systems, including a significant presence of (floating) solar panels. Additionally, alternatives to conventional heating systems like combined heat and power (CHP) units and boilers are increasingly available, potentially enabling growers to transition away from fossil fuels in the coming years and many LED suppliers are showing their fully flexible solutions.

Mario van den Bree with Fundamental Systems was once again able to present new sensational test results in tulips and tomatoes. People are also working on Phalaenopsis. Last year, the company really made itself heard for the first time. Many people will have recognized Mario at the fair from those publications for Greenhouse Horticulture Waterproof, which were also shared on this channel.

Rudy van den Berg from Artechno Growsystems addresses a group of students from Inholland

Day Two: Building Momentum
As anticipated, the second day of HortiContact was bustling, exceeding the previous year's attendance on Wednesday, according to the organizers.

The traditional operating hours from 13:00 to 21:00, coupled with Wednesday's convenience for a visit, attracted a diverse crowd of horticulturists and enthusiasts to the Evenementenhal Gorinchem. Notably, the presence of student groups was conspicuous, eagerly absorbing insights into cutting-edge technologies at various stands. For these students, the event not only offered a glimpse into the industry's advancements but also served as a networking opportunity with potential future employers.

We'll present you with a full photo report on Monday.