Remarkable growth in the number of South Korean visitors to GreenTech Amsterdam 2023

GreenTech 2023 was held from 13 – 15 June at RAI Amsterdam. As a top platform in horticulture technology, this trade show allowed industry professionals worldwide to connect, network, share knowledge and do business. Embassy Seoul presented in this year's show and came across various Korean visitors from all around the corner. According to the organizer, 11,500 professionals from 128 countries attended the show, and one of the top 5 countries in the number of participants was South Korea, together with the Netherlands, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom.

NL Pavilion at GreenTech
Beeld: ©SEO-LAN
NL Pavilion at GreenTech

Background: Horticulture in South Korea

Korea has around 56,000 greenhouse areas, most of which are low- or mid-tech plastic greenhouses. The Korean government has tried to develop greenhouses into high-tech Dutch-style glasshouses through different subsidy programs since the 1990s. Korea has around 400 ha glasshouse areas, and the site is growing. Thanks to these efforts, Korea is now the largest exporter of paprika to Japan, accounting for 61% of the Japanese market.

The challenge is that Korean farmers are small and can't afford to pay for hi-tech glasshouses. Therefore, most horticulture projects rely on central or regional government subsidies. Investments from other sectors, such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, are limited due to opposition from farmers and politicians who want to protect agriculture from conglomerates.

Recently, new opportunities have been coming up in the Korean horticulture sector. Korean government's continuous efforts to promote smart farming (Koreans call hi-tech horticulture "smart farming") raised awareness of glasshouse horticulture in society. Unlike in past years, the private sector has started glasshouse projects without governmental subsidies. It became possible because of investments by the bank and private investors. Provincial or municipal governments are also actively supporting those projects because they are seen as one of the best solutions to attract young farmers to their country regions.

GreenTech Amsterdam 2023 RAI
Beeld: ©SEO-LAN
GreenTech Amsterdam 2023

GreenTech Amsterdam 2023

From the developments in the Korean horticulture sector mentioned above, the embassy in Seoul already expected that many Korean stakeholders would visit GreenTech Amsterdam this year. A regional manager of Priva, a Dutch climate control company, mentioned that they had to receive so many Korean visitors for a whole day without a break.

A delegation from the municipal government of Jeung Pyeong in North Chungcheong province, comprised of the mayor, officers from related departments, and local media journalists, visited GreenTech. A seed company in this county, Austembio, also joined the delegation. This company has decided to invest €35 million to create a high-tech greenhouse district, including a seed breeding research facility, a plant for eco-friendly agricultural machinery, and an education center by 2026. It could be an exciting cooperation opportunity for Dutch companies introducing advanced greenhouse technologies.

Also, a professor of Chungbuk National University was walking around with some of the students' groups. He is also a member of the Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development, and his visit shows how the Korean government is actively motivating innovation in the agriculture sector. With this trend of government policy, the area of high-tech greenhouses in Korea quadrupled over the past four years by 6,485ha in 2021 from 1,912ha in 2016. 

The Korea Smart Farm R&D Foundation also encouraged its member researchers to join the show; it hosted a workshop and invited some Dutch high-tech horticulture companies. Surprisingly all 40 participants for the workshop were only Koreans, and the KOTRA(Korea Trade Center Amsterdam) presented in the seminar introducing their role in trade.

The embassy also encountered around 40 students from the Korea National University of Agriculture and Fisheries. This group of students was led by a professor of the Horticulture Environment System studies at the university who is active in the Korean Society for Vertical Farm Research & Industry as a president.

Apart from these visitors, 9 Korean startups and companies were exhibiting their technologies and products in Greentech. They concentrated more on vertical/urban farming and technology related to AI and cloud.

Recently, SK Networks, a Korean investment company prominent in expanding its global investment portfolio in the sustainability sector, has announced that it decided to invest $2 million in, a Dutch startup working on AI for farmers. It was extra meaningful to visit this pioneering startup in Greentech. 


Several promising horticultural projects in South Korea are going on in cooperation with the Netherlands. And more and more local governments announce their master plans to invest in high-tech greenhouses. How many cooperation projects will kick off and become materialized in the end is hard to foresee. Still, growing opportunities for the Netherlands in the Korean horticulture sector are confirmed.

If you have any questions about the development in Korea or need assistance finding local partners, please contact the Agriculture team at the embassy in Seoul: