published May 23, 2012

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The Schoone family, Floricultura and the Advisory Board invite the international orchid sector to nominate persons, new varieties, marketing concepts, business strategies and innovations in crop technology for the Klaas Schoone Memorial Award 2013. This distinguished award, which will be presented for the first time next year, is a posthumous tribute to Klaas Schoone, an extraordinary orchid grower who was a highly respected pioneer in the commercial assortment of orchids, their cultivation and crop technology during his short life.

‘Klaas Schoone was a very positive person, and we think that we should follow in his footsteps by spreading a positive message’, says Ed Meeuwissen who, like Hans Bart, Jan Post and Gerard de Wagt, is a member of the Advisory Board that actually initiated the Klaas Schoone Memorial (KSM) Award.

‘Naturally’, he says, ‘the truth of the matter is that the Phalaenopsis has become one of the most important pot plants – if not the most important pot plant, in the whole world. But those of us here in the Netherlands tend to disregard the beauty of these orchids. We find it difficult to deal with the concept of ornamental value. What makes something beautiful? Why do you buy something? These kinds of questions involve emotions. They’re elusive, so we tend to go out of our way to avoid them – even though we’re constantly focused on the number of flower buds per Phalaenopsis, the Cymbidium spike that has to reach a metre in height, and the number of pots per trolley when it comes to our products.’

Hidden treasures
The biennial KSM Award that will be presented for the first time next year (location and date still to be determined) will accept applications from everyone and for everything involved in the orchid sector. ‘The KSM Award’, continues Meeuwissen, ‘is for plant breeders, propagators, growers, new varieties, and for a group of people who have developed a business plan or marketing strategy as well as researchers who are doing pioneering work in such fields as the use of fertilisers and sustainable cultivation. There are so many facets you could think of, and we really wouldn’t want to exclude anything or anybody. It’s our guess that there are lots of hidden treasures out there. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the KSM Award could bring them to light?’

Jury of experts
Candidates can apply until 29 September 2012 via the VKC’s (Permanent Judging Committee) website where it is possible to download application forms in both Dutch and English. With the VKC and Gerard de Wagt as chairman, the Klaas Schoone Memorial Award can be assured of an extremely authoritative jury. ‘For each of the four categories, the VKC will assess and appoint a separate group of inspectors who know the orchid sector from A to Z, whether it’s about new varieties, promotion or crop technology. We as the Advisory Board will guarantee the quality of the entries.’

International ‘patrons’
By now, big names in the orchid sector have indicated their willingness to help with this international promotion of the KSM Award. This means, emphasises Meeuwissen, any fears that only the Dutch will be involved are unfounded. ‘Besides the Netherlands, there are many other countries in which the orchid sector is represented, and people there say that they are very honoured to be allowed to bring this award to the attention of others in their own country. And I honestly have to say that I and the other members of the Advisory Board are very much looking forward to real international competition.’