Between early 2015 and mid-2016, work started on a unique combination of education, research, practice and innovation at Dairy Campus, resulting in the current multi-facility site. Dairy Campus can be seen as the culmination of a development that was started in the 1950s. At that time, a number of model farms were set up that would later be turned into six regional research centres. These centres – Cranendonck, De Vlierd, Zegveld, Aver Heino, Waiboerhoeve and Nij Bosma Zathe – came under the auspices of Wageningen University & Research in early 2000.
In 2008-2009, all stakeholders agreed to centralise these centres at one site that could then be upgraded. This created one single national knowledge centre with multiple functions focusing on innovation, research, education and practice for dairy farming and the dairy supply chain. And so the Dairy Campus concept was born.
Nij Bosma Zathe
It was decided to create this centre in Leeuwarden, on the site of the former experimental farm Nij Bosma Zathe. Friesland is the foremost dairy province in the Netherlands, boasting large numbers of agricultural businesses. The Frisian capital is also home to the research institutes Van Hall Larenstein and Nordwin College, both of which offer agricultural study programmes. The municipality of Leeuwarden and the province of Friesland shared the ambitions to create a Dairy Campus.
The grand opening was held on 26 May 2016. Under the watchful eye of more than 400 representatives of the dairy sector, the then State Secretary of Economic Affairs Martijn van Dam officially opened the facility. In doing so, he endorsed the unique mix of research, education and innovation under one roof.
Since the launch we have welcomed around 10,000 visitors per year, Coronavirus lockdown periods excepted. Fifteen percent of our visitors come from outside the Netherlands.
We occasionally welcome VIP guests, too:
in November 2017, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Carola Schouten came for an extended guided tour, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited Dairy Campus in August 2018.