About Henri Willig
What began as a new challenge for his farming business has since grown into a main tourist attraction, boasting more than a million visitors annually. The owner, Henri Willig, talks about the growth of his company:
"In 1974, my wife, Riet, and I took over my parent’s family business, the dairy and cattle farm called 'Jacobs Hoeve'. I quickly realized that I wanted something more. So I started to take a course on cheese making. I hit the bulls eye. The panoramic polder landscape and the traditional method of cheese making proved to be enormously popular, especially with foreign tourists. I remember on March 3, 1975, a bus full of tourists drove onto our property, completely unexpectedly. We were totally unprepared!"
"In April, 1985, I watched the family business that we had worked so hard for go up in smoke. The cheese farm was destroyed by a huge fire. From 1985 to 1986 we rebuilt the Jacobs Hoeve, which was followed by a long period of growth. Three other farms (Hoeves) and four shops were added to our business operations. In addition, we also set up two cheese production facilities using machines of our own design, one in Katwoude, North Holland and one in Heerenveen, Friesland. This move allowed us to increase our production capacity dramatically, while still strictly monitoring the craftsmanship of the process. This increased scale of business has led to an expanding export, so that our cheese is now sold all over the world. That gives me a great sense of satisfaction."
"The one thing that has not changed despite all these developments is the daily effort to produce high-quality cheese and to help our visitors experience a little bit of Holland. With great enthusiasm, we welcome more than one million visitors each year. Including the production team, more than 150 dedicated employees and 60 milk suppliers make all this possible."