As part of the state visit of Singapore, queen Máxima and the president of Singapore Halimah Yacob visited the greenhouses of the Horticultural Centre in Bleiswijk on 22 November.
© Photostudio Gerard-Jan Vlekke
The theme of the visit was sustainable (urban) agriculture. ‘As a city-state, Singapore itself is one large urban farming area’, says Ben Geerlings, international communications advisor at WUR, who just attended the visit. ‘The president was very interested in the knowledge WUR has to offer in this field, and I think a future collaboration is very plausible.’
After a short welcome speech by Louise Fresco, the group consisting of queen Máxima, president Halimah Yacob and her husband Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee went into the greenhouses. There, they received explanations about various innovations in horticulture. The visit included different locations, among which were the tulip greenhouse, where scientists are investigating how to sustainably grow tulips all year round, and a tropical greenhouse with plants such as papayas, vanilla and passion fruit. They also viewed the tomato greenhouse, where Ernst van den Ende, managing director of the Plant Sciences Group, told them about the different innovations in the field of tomato culture. Three (of the five) Singaporean WUR students were present to speak with the president and queen Máxima.
Additionally, a number of cooperation agreements were signed during the visit, for instance one between the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and WUR. This collaboration applies to studies in food sciences, among others, and was initiated in 2014.