These tulips grow thanks to bitcoin in the Netherlands

Engineer Bert de Groot installed mining farms in his greenhouses where tulips were grown.

Tulips and bitcoin have both been associated with financial bubbles, but in a giant greenhouse near Amsterdam, the Dutch have now found a way to make them work together.

Engineer Bert de Groot inspects six bitcoin servers in a greenhouse that perform complex calculations to create cryptocurrency, making a lot of noise but also heat.

It heats the greenhouse where rows of tulips grow, reducing farmers’ dependence on gas, the price of which has skyrocketed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With a difference of 20°C between the air entering and leaving the machines, the temperature reaches an ideal level for the growth of tulips and the drying of bulbs.

The servers are in turn powered by solar panels mounted on the roof, which reduces both the energy costs associated with bitcoin mining – which are usually very heavy – and the environmental consequences. Meanwhile, tulip growers and Bert de Groot’s company Bitcoin Brabant are cashing in on cryptocurrency, which is still attracting investors despite the recent market crash.


Philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb – who developed the “black swan” theory, according to which an unexpected event has huge consequences – compared bitcoin to the “Tulipmania” of the Netherlands.

The Dutch love of tulips actually led to a major stock market crash in the 17th century when speculation in the price of the bulbs caused prices to explode and then plummet. At the height of the financial bubble, the price of a light bulb was more than 100 times the average annual income of a Dutch person at the time. Before it happened in 1637, it led to bank failures and the loss of citizens’ savings.

Despite the checkered history, Danielle Koning, a 37-year-old flower grower and farm owner, sees the combination of tulips and bitcoin as positive.

“We think we have a win-win situation by heating our greenhouse this way and also earning bitcoins,” he said. Nearly four centuries after the crisis, the Netherlands is the world’s largest producer of tulips and the second largest agricultural exporter after the United States. Most of the products are grown in greenhouses.

“To protect the environment”

Located partially below sea level, the country is well aware of the environmental impacts of this industry. It should be added that since the start of the war in Ukraine, the price of energy has increased.

However, cryptocurrency mining requires large amounts of electricity to power the computers that generate these valuable digital currencies. Such consumption inevitably leads to climate change. According to 35-year-old Bert De Groot, whose company he founded earlier this year has 17 clients, including restaurants and warehouses, bitcoin and tulips make a perfect pair.

“This operation is actually as carbon negative as all the operations I’ve built,” says the long-haired engineer.

“We’re actually protecting the environment,” he says. Danielle Koning’s company has asked not to disclose the exact location of the greenhouse and its servers, each worth 15,000 euros, in order not to attract thieves.

“Bitcoin is here forever”

His company owns half of the machines and keeps the bitcoins they produce. Every month, the Bitcoin Brabant teams come to clean the dust and insects from the fans.

“We save natural gas” and “secondly, we earn bitcoins by producing them in the greenhouse”, Danielle Koning rejoices. He explains that several Dutch agricultural companies that produce in greenhouses have recently gone bankrupt due to rising energy prices.

Currently, the price of one bitcoin is around 16,000 euros, which is much less than when it was more than 65,000 euros in November 2021, but Bert de Groot is not worried: “Bitcoin is here forever.”

Pauline Armandet with AFP

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