The spoga horse country check (2): The horse industry in the Netherlands
spoga horse is the world's leading B2B trade fair for the horse industry. An important plus point for visitors and exhibitors: Its internationality. Exhibitors from 33 countries and visitors from 72 countries took part in spoga horse Autumn 2019. The networking of business partners across national borders is an important mission of spoga horse. That's why in the new series "spoga horse Country Check" we take a close look at the most important sales markets for spoga horse.
Please note: These are partially abridged versions of the articles originally published in the trade magazine "ReitsportBRANCHE" by Sebastian Reichert. If you are interested in the complete publications, you can order the complete Ländlercheck series at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Political and economic facts
"The Netherlands is not only a traditional country of horse breeders. The percentage of riders in relation to the population is perhaps the highest in the world," says Geert Postema, Managing Director of Divoza Horseworld. About four percent of the Dutch people ride horses.
About 830,000 of a total of almost 17 million inhabitants live in Amsterdam. After the capital, the largest cities are the port metropolis of Rotterdam (630,000), The Hague (519,000), Utrecht (339,000) and Eindhoven (225,000). The (European) part of the country is divided into twelve provinces; the most recent province - Flevoland - was only established in 1986. It is largely derived from the Ijsselmeer.
Germany is the most important trading partner for exports and the second most important trading partner for imports in the sixth largest EU economy. In 2017, the Netherlands exported goods to the value of 468.2 billion US dollars and imported goods to the value of 411.2 billion US dollars. 9.6 percent of the gross domestic product of 733.1 billion euros in 2017 was generated by agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The Netherlands, with its technological and productive agriculture, is the world's third largest exporter of agricultural products after the USA and France, although the sector employs only two percent of the workforce. In addition to the famous cucumbers, tomatoes and tulips, there is also large-scale dairy farming. Cheese is an important export product.
Horse riding and association structure in the netherlands
The umbrella organisation for all riders, drivers, vaulters and co. is the Koninklijke Nederlandse Hippische Sportfederatie (KNHS), founded in 1924 - with almost 192,000 members one of the largest sports associations in the country. "Riding is definitely one of the top ten in Dutch sport," says Monique van Dooren-Westerdaal, CEO Equine Industry (Oisterwijk / Tilburg). Interesting in comparison: the number of people who
The number of people who are enthusiastic about horses is as high as the KNVB membership - 1.2 million. 70 percent of all riders practised their sport for pure pleasure. 250,000 of the total of 450,000 horses in the Netherlands are privately owned - with an increasing trend in recent years despite the economic downturn. With 80 percent, the absolute majority of the 500,000 Dutch riders is female. "Girls' football and hockey have recently grown at the expense of equestrianism," explains Monique van Dooren-Westerdaal.
Picture: Rebecca Schönbrodt-Rühl
Professionalisation and breeding in the netherlands
50,000 of KNHS members are competition riders. 135,000 of all members have their own horses. With about 25 horses per 1000 people, the Netherlands has one of the highest densities of horses in Europe. A total of 765,000 show starts in eight different disciplines gives the highest number of show starts per rider in Europe according to the association. More than 3000 equestrian centres and riding clubs together organise 7300 events per year. The majority of riding schools are affiliated to the Federatie Nederlandse Ruiter Sportcentra (FNRS). Most competition riders are based in Gelderland (4327) in the eastern centre and in Noord-Brabant (4044) in the south of the country. Dutch riders have already won 23 medals at the Olympic Games. They brought home six medals at the 2012 Games in London - 20 percent of all Dutch medals. At the past European and World Championships, the Orange riders took the podium 26 times.
Picture: Kira Hoffmann
"Names like Anky van Grunsven and her successful horse Bonfire are known by almost everyone here," reports Monique van Dooren-Westerdaal. However, dressage is still somewhat more important in the country than jumping. "The Dutch have recently paid an incredible amount of attention to breeding - promoting the sport from the junior level onwards," says Henrik Berkel, German Sales Manager of Imperial Riding, one of the oldest Dutch wholesalers of equestrian equipment. "They have managed to keep the most talented horses in the country."
The Nederlands Olympiade Paard (NOP) and the Springpaarden Fonds Nederland (SFN) have this task. The NOP currently has 17 potential team horses under contract so that the team can compete in the Rio Olympics with the best possible line-up. At the last World Championships, the victorious Dutch show jumping team relied on four horses from their own country.
Moreover, the Netherlands is the world's largest horse export country, according to its own sports association. For example, all four riders of the British dressage team, which recently won World Championship gold, rode Dutch horses. Horses of the breed of the Koninklijk Nederlands Warmbloed Paard (KWPN) - the Dutch Warmblood - are among the best sports horses in the world and therefore also among the most sought after. 10.000 KWPN foals are born every year. In 2013 horses worth 200 million euros were sold abroad.
Picture: Erdenebayar Bayansan
In total, the Dutch horse industry with 6600 affiliated companies employs tens of thousands of people and generates an estimated total turnover of 1.5 billion euros per year. According to the sports association, seven horses secure one job each. According to KNHS, after football, equestrian sport is the sport with the highest economic value. Dutch trainers are in great demand in equestrian sports worldwide. Many foreign teams often attend training camps in the country for several weeks.
The netherlands specialist equestrian trade
With "Divoza Horseworld" and "Epplejeck" there are six large retail chains for equestrian equipment. Divoza has five shops spread throughout the country, which are between 1000 and 2000 square metres in size and some of which have attached riding arenas for adjusting the saddles, saddleries and embroidery and engraving studios. "We consider Divoza to be the market leader," said Managing Director Geert Postema. Both Divoza, whose company history dates back to 1928, and Epplejeck, which was founded in 2008, also have a large (German-speaking) online shop.
A little bit the constellation of the two big retail chains reminds of the history of "Adidas" and "Puma". Co-owner of Epplejeck is Adam Postema. The brother of Geert Postema once said goodbye to Divoza, probably not without a sound. Owner of "Epplejeck, Horse & Rider Superstores" with currently twelve branches is Jacqueline Freeke, wife of Adam Postema. Epplejeck, who is very active in the social media, wants to appear more fashionable, younger and fresher than Divoza and does not rely so much on price-intensive brands.
Foto: David Wagner
Another major player in the Dutch equestrian business is the Hypo Group, founded by Steef Duijndam in 1985. While Duijndam sold 60 per cent of the shares of Hypo Wholesale, which includes the brands HV POLO, euro-star and Imperial Riding, to the Belgian investor company Vendis Capital in 2013, he has completely withdrawn from the operational business of Hypo Retail with its retail outlets since the beginning of 2016. Epplejeck bought part of the business and took over, among others, "Hyporama" in Rotterdam and "Hypoplaza" in The Hague.
However, there are about 400 retail shops for equestrian sports enthusiasts in the Netherlands. "The Dutch are good traders," says Henrik Berkel of Imperial Riding. This may also include the fact that the big shops in particular are relying on online trading even more than in Germany. Conversely, however, this also contributes to the fact that small shops have often lost turnover and often have to close down. "Compared to Germany, the shops are generally more fashionable," says Jacob Janssen from Passier. "Products get in faster, but are also out faster. It is not for nothing that new brands are often launched first in the Netherlands. "The Dutch are bolder when it comes to colours and new concepts," confirms Berkel. For example, there are even tethering hooks for the stable in the right colours to match the overall concept, he says, "You don't find this anywhere else in Europe.
The netherlands @ spoga horse
At spoga horse 2019, 19 exhibitors from the Netherlands exhibited, 9 percent Dutch visitors took part. According to the exhibitor survey, the Netherlands is one of the most important sales markets for around two thirds of all exhibitors.