Saudi Arabia’s NEOM Project Will Grow Its Own Crops Inside Dutch Greenhouses

The team behind the Saudi Arabian project has agreed to work alongside Van der Hoeven, a global pioneer in the design, construction, and operation of horticultural infrastructure.

By: THURSD. | 23-08-2023 | 3 min read
Architecture How It Works
Greenhouses coming to Dubai

NEOM has established a partnership with Dutch greenhouse business Van Der Hoeven in an effort to bring blooming gardens to Saudi Arabia's dry deserts. Food security has become a priority for the city's planners as the 'city of the future' wants to become a self-sustaining oasis and home to millions of people. Here are all the details of this collab!

Dutch Greenhouse Van Der Hoeven Is Ready to Make the Desert Bloom

Dutch horticulture experts have been hired to design, develop, and maintain two test facilities totaling 110,000 square meters on the outskirts of the city. The team intends to use this urban farming approach to establish a controlled climate for efficient and sustainable food production. This humongous project is made up of four megacities, the most well-known of which is 'The Line', a mirrored city. The 170-kilometer-long ground scraper is now under development and will be car-free and powered entirely by renewable energy. The recently announced greenhouse facilities will help NEOM achieve its self-sufficiency goal.


Neom is on the road of construction


Horticulture Methods by Dutch Company Van Der Hoeven Will Aid in NEOM's Plant Plans

With Saudi Arabia's harsh desert climate, NEOM's horticultural aspirations are big, so partnering with the Dutch greenhouse industry makes sense. Despite its modest size, the Netherlands is the world's second-largest agricultural exporter, trailing only the United States. According to statistics, agriculture takes up more than half of the land in European countries. Almost 24,000 acres are occupied by highly efficient greenhouses that require one-tenth the land area required by traditional farming.


Van Der Hoeven collab with NEOM project
Photo: NEOM


This technology has a lot to offer in the harsh climate of Saudi Arabia. The country relies heavily on imports to meet its food needs because local growers struggle with effective agriculture and water scarcity, while Dutch-built greenhouses require significantly less fertilizer and water.


Van Der Hoeven offices in the Netherlands
Van Der Hoeven headquarters in the Netherlands.
Photo: Van Der Hoeven


Established Greenhouses in the Arabian Region

The team behind the Saudi Arabian project has agreed to work alongside Van der Hoeven, a global pioneer in the design, construction, and operation of horticultural infrastructure. The company has joined the Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD), a foundation that aspires to spread the country's expertise around the world in order to provide large-scale food production in a variety of climates.


Construction of greenhouses in NEOM Saudi Arabia
Van Der Hoeven is enlisted to design, build, and operate the NEOM greenhouses.
Photo: Van Der Hoeven


The firm already has a strong presence in the Middle East. Bas Duijvestijn, sales director at Van Der Hoeven, provides an example of their efforts, saying that four years ago, they built a tomato nursery of more than 11 hectares in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates. This was the region's first large-scale contemporary greenhouse!


A view of a greenhouse on the inside
Photo: NEOM


The Van Der Hoeven team observes that it is conceivable to obtain water by desalinating sea water, a strategy that NEOM planners believe will be the city's primary supply of water. The extraction of potable water from seawater is usually frowned upon because the procedure includes throwing the salts back into the sea, explains NEOM's head of urban planning in an interview. This changes the salinity of the water and, as a result, the ecosystem of the sea. We have a zero-brine discharge policy at NEOM, which means the salts will be preserved and utilized for other purposes.'

Stay tuned for more NEOM news as Saudi Arabia is getting fully prepared for the construction and final result of this project.


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