Popke Vriend

Entrepreneurial spirit

This is our founder, Pop Vriend. He was born in 1914 in Andijk, on the shores of the Zuiderzee. Young Pop was a clearheaded, smart boy with an entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of 12, he loved to join his father Pieter on his weekly visits to the Seeds Fair in Hoorn. Pieter Vriend acted as a seed broker, but eventually Pop believed there was more to be earned in the seed trade and seed breeding. In 1956, he set up his own company, initially focusing on the production of bean seeds.

International view

A farm in Africa…

In the early 1960’s, the market was growing, but soil for seed production in the Netherlands was limited. With the three most important English words in his pocket 'yes, no and how much', Pop travelled the world, which was quite exceptional at the time. He discovered fertile grounds at the foot of the Kilimanjaro, and Tanzania became a flourishing seed producing location with multiple farms and a factory in Arusha. Today, part of our bean seeds are still grown on Tanzanian soil.

Growth and great genetics

The (st)art of breeding

At the end of the 1960's, Pop Vriend took another step that proved to be crucial to the success of his young company. He started breeding bean varieties. Pop hired a young professional breeder and together they forged ahead to become one of the top bean breeders in Europe. Some of the varieties Pop Vriend Seeds developed in that period are still used today. Continuously, new varieties come to market and are sold in all continents of the world.

Global success

Expanding range of products

Pop’s son, Arnold Vriend, and his son-in-law Klaas Timmerman took over responsibility for the company in the 1980’s. The company steadily increased its range of vegetable seeds and the number of countries it was exporting to. After Pop Vriend bean varieties became very well introduced into the European processing market, another move was made to expand the range of products for sweet corn and spinach. Thanks to the passionate spinach breeder they had taken on, this strategy proved to be a huge success. After fresh market growers in the US discovered our spinach varieties, the company conquered the demanding American spinach market.

Long term relationships

The ‘friend’ in Pop Vriend

Pop Vriend Seeds steadily grew, and over time, we’ve built up a large client base throughout the world. Many of our clients have been with us for decades. The word ‘Vriend’ in our company name literally means ‘friend’ in Dutch, and we are honored that some of our clients describe the working relationship we have as a long-term friendship.

Third generation

A passion for sustainable growth

In 2003, Arnold and Klaas handed the torch over to their children Arwin Vriend and Lara Timmerman. They further expanded the company into new areas and with new products, and introduced a number of changes to facilitate growth. They built on the family values of quality, independence and the many many long term relationships we cherish with our clients, suppliers and other stakeholders. In their hands, we grew rapidly and are now world market leader in spinach, and leading edge in our other crops. While growing, Lara en Arwin always emphasized that our company culture will never change; the commitment of our people is what makes the company.”

New horizons

Partnership with KWS

In 2019, Lara and Arwin decided to join forces with KWS, one of the world’s leading seed companies. The future of top quality seed breeding lies in the optimum combination of great genetics and the latest technology available. Together with KWS, we see an even brighter future. From our head office in Andijk, the Netherlands, we will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of KWS.