‘King of horticultural packaging’ Jan van Dillewijn dies at the age of 77

Jan van Dillewijn, known in the industry as ‘Jan Dil’ and the ‘king of horticultural packaging’, died in his hometown, Wateringen, on 31 December 2023. He was 77.

A fierce supporter supporter of the international horticultural industry and the local Aalsmeer community, Jan managed throughout the years  a succesful company with the support of his sister Jacqueline and his brother in law Gerard.

His father Jacob started the company, Van Dillewijn Verpakkingen, in 1916, using a kitchen table to unfold old newspapers. He distributed these to the floral wholesalers based at the two flower auctions which back then still existed in Aalsmeer; Bloemenlust and Centrale Aalsmeerse Veiling. At the auctions, the periodicals found a new life as packaging for cut flowers.

Following his secondary education Jan joined his father business which grew by leaps and bounds in the decades to come.

Van Dillewijn Verpakkingen launched many an innovative packaging for a wide range of ornamentals including cut flowers, potted bulbs, houseplants and cut foliage. At the same time, the company expanded abroad opening branches in Kenya, Ethiopia and the USA.

Jan will be remembered as a ‘bon vivant’, entrepreneur, entertainer, and a kind-hearted person who greatly impacted the Aalsmeer community, growing and supporting the people in this town and far beyond.

When in April 1986, for example, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded causing large amounts of radioactive material in the atmosphere, Jan helped setting up a charity allowing Chernobyl children to pass their holidays and gain strength in the Netherlands.

In 2021 Royal Paardekooper Group took a 100 per cent share in the company with products from then on selling under the Paardekooper brand. Jan, in the meantime had stood down because of ailing health. His legacy will live on through the many businesses that he touched as well as through his family. When he felt his end was nearing he still knew to put things in the right perspective saying “I’ve lived a good life, but one cannot always be lucky.”

Jan is survived by his wife Lorena, children and grandchildren

With a special thanks to my friend and journalist Leni Paul . 

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