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Ready fot the ‘next generation’

Cheese maturation

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Ready fot the 'next generation'

Expansion of Vergeer Holland

At industrial estate Groote Wetering in Bodegraven, a lot of effort is being put into the expansion of Vergeer Holland. In addition to the renowned cheese supplier’s existing distribution centre, a 22 metre high building will be constructed for the maturing and storage of cheese.

Vergeer Holland specialises in the maturing and packing of cheese for both national and international clients. The family-run business has existed since 1934 and, meanwhile headed by the third generation, it has three branches: the main location in Reeuwijk, the grating department in Woerden and the distribution centre in Bodegraven. Vergeer Holland will be expanding the branch in Bodegraven to allow the company opportunities to develop and to be able to cope with trends in society. The name of the project explains the project’s ambition. Under the denominator ‘Vergeer Holland Next Generation’, construction is taking place, literally for the next generation.

Matured collaboration

The new development of the expanding division is a substantial and complex project, involving cooperation a great number of specialist parties, such as sub-contractors, within the construction team. Among the first parties are architect RDG design & consultancy and Van Vliet Bouwmanagement (Building management). De Vries and Verburg Bouw is the main contractor for the architectural part. The fire protection is done by ULC Groep. Kromwijk Elektro, Voets & Donkers and Plomp Installation technology will take care of the E-installations, air conditioning and cooling and sanitary and thermal engineering respectively. “The three of us offer installation-based total solutions for food industry companies”, says project leader Mark den Boer from Kromwijk Elektro. “We have been working together for such a long time, that our collaboration could be considered ‘mature’.”

Giving guidance to the design

Architecturally, the new development, with its subtle curves and fenestration, is adapting to process installations yet to be constructed. Peter Donkers, director of Voets & Donkers: “The building will contain a fully automated system that will manage and direct, for instance, the storage of products in the warehouse racking. We play our part in ensuring that all activities, including maturing, cutting and packing, are done effectively and under the right conditions. It has been three years, since we started this project”. Also the other parties have been involved since the early stages. “It was the only way to give proper guidance to the design”, says director Arie Plomp of Plomp Installation technology. “For instance, the adjustments for the correct ceiling heights, creating openings in the architectural construction and the course of the pipeline routes.” Johan van der Velde, project leader at the Vries and Verburg, adds: “We modelled and engineered the project in BIM. Also there, it was imperative to have concrete information available at the earliest possible convenience”.

Breeam ‘Outstanding’

An important part of the design phase was the fulfilling of the sustainability ambition. Holding a BREEAM-certification ‘Outstanding’, the new Vergeer Holland building is the most energy-efficient cheese-processing company in the Netherlands. In cooperation with consultancy agency W4Y, Vergeer Holland structured the BREEAM-process. Van der Velde lists a number of measures: “For the construction, we used materials with a low environmental impact. Also, the energy consumption is being monitored throughout the construction, there is a transport plan and charging stations will be available for electrical vehicles. In addition, an ecologist will ensure that the impact of the design and the work activities on the flora and fauna will be limited”. Also in terms of installation, the necessary energy-saving measures will be taken. Den Boer: “We generate energy by use of solar panels. We will initially place 700 of them. This number can be expanded to 2,680 solar panels”. Plomp adds: “The building will be completely free from natural gas. We make use of, for instance, residual heat from cooling installations of Voets & Donkers to heat water and offices”.

5,300 cubic metres of concrete and 1.7 million kilos of steel

The design of the sizeable expansion was established in December 2018: a 22 metre high building with a size of nearly 25,000 m² of gross floor area, divided across production areas, traffic areas, offices and conference rooms. “We started the implementation in March 2019”, Van der Velde explains. He clarifies the architectural activities: “The foundation of the building consists of concrete piles. The floor boards are founded on mini vibro-piles, of which a hundred per day were applied to the soil. After the pouring of about 5,300 cubic metres of concrete, the substructure of the building was competed mid-July 2019. In August, we started the superstructure, consisting of the steel construction, the facades and the roof. We processed around 1.7 million kilos of steel in total, 15,000 m² of hollow core slabs and 25,000 m² of sandwich panels. The roof, which has an area of approximately 10,000 m², has been fitted with plastic roofing”.

Intensive preparation of installations

In January 2020, the building was wind and watertight and then the finishing, including installations, would start. “This moment was preceded by a lengthy preparation and engineering phase”, says Plomp. “That was all rather complicated. In this line of work, we deal with a huge number of installations, of which the piping meets at certain locations. In addition, the client preferred to keep as much headroom as possible. Fitting all the piping in the limitedly available space and determining the correct mounting order was a major point of attention.” Donkers: “We integrate the installations into one single system. This, in addition to aligning the installations to the client’s wishes, is what we continuously bear in mind”.

Air conditioning, heating and cooling

Donkers continues: “Within the entirety of installations, we see to the air conditioning and cooling. As such, we make a strong contribution to the maturing process of the cheeses in the building. One of the characteristics of the maturing process is that the cheese releases moisture. A high humidity will stimulate the formation of mould. This is counteracted by use of an advanced ventilation system that ensures a constant temperature and even distribution of air. The height of the building was an important focus point here. By use of aeration tubes and blow-in nozzles, we ensured that every cheese would be aerated in the same way, regardless the location in the maturing room. There are four air conditioning units on the roof to make this all possible”. In addition to the maturing room, Voets & Donkers also sees to the air conditioning, heating and cooling of the storage facility. This is where the cheese is stored before it is cut and packed; a high care environment with overpressure, for which Voets & Donkers also manufactured an air conditioning unit. Donkers: “The special things about the installation we realised here is that it is capable of distributing heat and cold at several levels. Furthermore, in view of BREEAM, we obviously apply natural refrigerants”.

From sewage to cheese coating tank

Plomp Installationtechniek heats the offices in the new building using residual heat from the cooling installation. “The offices will be equipped with floor heating”, Plomp explains. “In addition, the offices will have fan coil units, to make it possible to heat, cool and ventilate them individually.” Plomp Installationtechniek also applies the sewage, water mains and rainwater drainage, plus a number of specific installations. Plomp: “We will apply a complete cleaning system, allowing cleaning of the spaces by use of high pressure and disinfectants. Apart from that, we will install a complete gas flushing system for packing line and a cheese coating tank with an automated filling and transport system for plasticising the cheeses”. Plomp Installationtechniek applies the piping system for the compressed air and vacuum installation, that Vergeer Holland will have installed.

Electrotechnical installations

Kromwijk Elektro ensures the engineering, support, assembly and management of the E-installations. Den Boer explains: “Together with our partners, we will install a 2 x 2,500 Ampère transformer. Furthermore, we will connect the main distribution unit to an IP68 bus bar system. All the heavy descending groups will be connected to the bus bar system, in order to comply with the required capacity of the automation installation. In addition, we will install the access control, the camera security system and the data and alarm installation. The installations will be installed in accordance with the BREEAM-requirements and the HACCP-guidelines of Vergeer Holland. Also, we will apply LED-lighting with presence detection”. All the installations are connected to a web based energy management system and can, as such, be controlled and read remotely.

Fire security

Given the size of the building, the project is an enormous task for the installation partners. The same applies to ULC Groep, who are to equip the new building with fire security. “The entire building, including racking, will be sprinklered”, says project leader Richard de Kuijer. “The sprinkler cellar is situated underneath the building. A dry riser system will be installed throughout the building, as well as a gas extinguisher installation for the ICT-room. Interesting to note is that we will install a digital fire detection panel here. This is a digital board from which the location of the fire can be read immediately. It is also possible to zoom in on all the rooms. This is much more efficient and more effective than a floor plan on a board, which was commonplace in the past.”

According to planning

“The greatest challenge is the short construction time, in combination with the size”, de Kuijer continues. “The construction of the frame took place from March 2019 until January 2020. Just like the other installation partners, we used that period of time to prepare our activities into detail. This usually pays off in the implementation.” Van der Velde adds: “In May of 2019 we agreed a planning with all parties involved. We are still carefully following this planning to the day. This is owed to the solid preparation, but also to the great collaboration. We hold frequent meetings, use short lines and quickly connect. We will continue to do so up to the completion”. The finishing and installation works are still ongoing. Meanwhile, Vergeer has also started the integration of the process installations and racking. The completion of the building is expected in May of this year.

Text | Patricia van der Beek Beeld | Vergeer Holland

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