Slovenian delegation trade in Rotterdam

June 18, 2024

Between June 5th and 7th, a Slovenian delegation visited Rotterdam as part of the Slovenian Delegation Trade, organized by the Slovenian-Dutch Business Platform (SDBP), supported by SPIRIT Slovenija, javna agencija. The purpose of this delegation was to create business opportunities and matches between Slovenian and Dutch companies, potentially leading to strategic partnerships.

The visit focused on three main themes: sustainable food, energy, and construction. The delegation’s itinerary spanned several days, including a business forum at Blue City, a hotspot of circularity in Rotterdam and a full day dedicated to the sustainable food systems experience offered by FoodX Netherlands.


"The circular economy is about creating circular value chains, and they are by definition something which stretches beyond national borders. In that respect, I'm very pleased that we have this delegation here." 

Sabine Rau-Oberhuber, co-founder Turntoo, circular economy expert

5th of June : Business forum in BlueCity, sustainable food, energy and construction

Johan O. Verboom, the Netherlands ambassador to Slovenia, and Josef Drofenik, the Slovenian ambassador to the Netherlands, made a powerful introduction about the importance of cross-border collaboration.

They highlighted the significant learning opportunities and exchanges between the two countries. Slovenia and the Netherlands share numerous common interests and maintain excellent bilateral relations, which opens up a range of possibilities for potential collaborations. Sabine Rau-Oberhuber, co-founder of Turntoo and expert in the circular economy, also underscored the importance of collaboration, the need to create circular value chains and extend them across borders.

The food panel, showcasing Leon Van Der Burg, Igor Kos and Jan Westra, moderated by Freek van Eijk, CEO of Holland Circular Hotspot.

In the three themes of the day: sustainable food, energy, and construction, both countries indeed had the opportunity to share their best practices through the speeches of inspiring entrepreneurs and matchmaking sessions.

Holland Circular Hotspot, including special envoy Vesna Lavtizar and Freek van Eijk, CEO, had the opportunity to organize the food panel, highlighting entrepreneurs in the circular food sector, some of whom are residents of Blue City. This included Lindy Hensen, co-founder of Peel Pioneers, and Leon Van Der Burg, of the Urban brewery Vet and Lazy. There was also a significant contribution from Igor Kos of the CCRI (Circular Cities & Regions Initiative) on regional strategy for the transition to a circular bioeconomy, and Jan Westra, strategic business developer at Priva. It was a real opportunity to share some of the best Dutch practices related to the food system, opening the door to collaborations in this sector. The afternoon was marked by collective intelligence and exchange, thanks to two workshops facilitated respectively by Vesna Lavtizar: “Bridging food, energy, and construction,” which questioned participants on the valorization of residues from winemaking, and the workshop led by Patrick Cowden, The Beyond Company: Let’s Connect!

The event also had a festive touch. Without losing sight of the theme of circularity, guests had the opportunity to discover and taste wines from Kokol, the Slovenian winery that has integrated circular practices into its model, particularly in the production of by-products from winemaking residues. Finally, the day concluded with a reception at the Vet & Lazy brewery, co-founded by Blue City resident Leon Van Der Burg. The perfect opportunity to extend further the negotiations and discussions in a convivial atmosphere, with a view on the Maas river !

« There is a sea of possibilities in creating value from waste and by-products if we continue to be creative and establish trust and will for collaboration. »

Vesna Lavtizar, HCH special envoy and SDBP board member

Business forum in Blue City, Rotterdam

7th of june : excursion to the innovation center Food-X Netherlands

Food-X, located at the World Food Center in Ede, is an iconic place when it comes to circularity in food: a hub of innovative startups and industry pioneers and a research institute of Wageningen University & Research. Then, it was a natural choice to take the delegation there for a day of immersion.

The program included an introduction to Agrifood innovations in the Netherlands, inspiring speeches on topics such as “Collaborate globally and create value locally,” and presentations and meet-ups with companies like FoodValley NL, Cano-ela, Duynie, and Revyve.

FoodX virtual reality experience: showcasing Agrifood innovations in the Netherlands.

A promising future for Slovenian-Dutch business collaborations

This event was very inspiring for all participants and attending companies. What emerged most frequently was the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing. Cross-border collaboration holds real potential when it comes to adopting best practices, particularly in circularity.

The business forum made a lot of sense in the context of AGRA: the Slovene international fair in agriculture and food, focusing on important topics such as food safety, youth and innovation, digitization, and artificial intelligence in agriculture. AGRA will take place from August 24 to 28, 2024.