Made in Israel, sold in Holland
Christian Dutch brothers operate successful business selling only products made in Israel throughout Netherlands, rest of Europe. 'Dutch have warm sentiments towards Israel, its products,' one of them says
Published: 01.27.09, 12:06 / Israel Money
Brothers Roger, 47, and Pieter, 43, van Oordt who grew up in a Christian home in the small Dutch town of Nijkerk, operate a thriving business selling only products made in Israel through catalogues and direct marketing.
The company, Israel Producten Centrum, was started by their father Karel, 80, who "still comes to the office every day".
Pieter and Roger remember growing up with "Israel always in the background" and have visited the Jewish state several times both as children, and as adults with children of their own. The company is owned by the family, and also has some 300 investors from the Netherlands.
The company sells products "that people really need", the brothers said, through catalogues delivered throughout the country and other European nations, as well as door-to-door salespeople.
The prices of Israeli products are relatively lower than similar European products, which has helped make them more attractive for local consumers.
Products available at Israel Producten Centrum include wines, jams, bedding, cosmetics, jewelry, candles, spices, tea, clocks, and more.
A total of 45 providers supply the store with hundreds of products, that bring in an annual return of €1.5 million (about $1.94 million).
The father Karel started his relationship with Israel by importing phosphates from the Negev, but quickly decided instead to open a channel through which Israeli consumer products could be sold via catalogues.
Available online as well
The first catalogue was published in the 1980s in black and white, and a new color edition can be found a few times a year.
"The Dutch Christians always had warm sentiments towards Israel, as they do towards your products," Pieter said in an interview on his last visit to Israel.
"They don't care if the products are made within the Green Line or on the other side of it, they only care that the products were all made in Israel and not in the Far East, and mainly, in the southern communities."
The products are shipped to Europe twice a year in six or seven containers sent from Haifa Port, but not before the company's representatives arrive in Israel to verify that all the products were indeed manufactured in Israel.
Contracts with local manufacturers are signed in Israel, some of them through the Manufacturers Association of Israel which granted the van Oordt's a special award this week.