6 KaDO band Utrecht: heart of Holland Women in the Rabobank Group Aalsmeer, the largest flower auction in the world Issue 4/September 22, 1989 Utrecht is the home-town of one of Rabobank's two head offices. Wlth 230,000 inhabltants Utrecht Is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands. Belng situated In the centre of the country, It Is often called the heart of Holland. Utrecht has been a Roman fortress, a Franklsh citadel and a mlsslon station of the Catholic church. Now It Is a trade fair city - the Ko ninklijke Jaarbeurs is our head offlce's neighbour - and houses head offices of many natlonal and International companles. Utrecht has a thriving univer- sity which was founded in 1636. In the old city centre are canals with quays, giving access to deep cellars, some- times extending dozens of metres under the merchant houses. Many cellars are trans- formed into pleasant restaur ants and cafés. In the centre stands the Dom cathedral with the highest medieval tower in the Netherlands (112 metres). From its top, one has a superb view of the old centre with its large shopping precinct. There is also a modern covered shopping centre, named Hoog Catharijne. It is the largest covered shopping centre in the Netherlands and possibly in Europe. Utrecht has a range of inter- esting museums, such as the Dutch Railway Museum, the State Museum for religious art and a Music Museum. Also the small villages and towns around Utrecht are worth a visit. The lake areas with their natural scenery and water sports and the romantic river Vecht have a character of their own. Utrecht offers some- thing for everyone. Last year 17,252 women and 14,752 men were em- ployed in the Rabobank Group. The vast majority of women at Rabobank are to be found working in lower positions. To illustrate the point: on the 31st of December 1988, 3,949 men had a salary of 60,000 Dutch guilders or more against 70 women. The Executive Board of Rabobank Nederland would like to see more women in higher posi tions within the Group. A report has been drafted on The Position of Women within the Rabobank Group.' In the Netherlands approxi- mately 45% of women have jobs. With the exception of Ire- land, Italy and Spain this is the lowest percentage in Europe. In the United States more than 65% of women work, and in Great Britain more than 60%. The front runners are Denmark and Sweden where almost 80% of women are employed. Most working women in the Netherlands are young. As soon as they have children, still many of them stop work ing. Lack of provision of day- time child-care facilities is an important reason for this. In the report on the position of women within the Rabobank Group, all manner of points are raised with the aim of pro moting greater intake and promotional prospects for women with a higher educa- tion. To realize this it is necess- ary to encourage a change in mentality. Not all Dutch man agers consider it a matter of course that men and women should enjoy equal opportun- ities, despite the existence of a law to that effect. Studies are also being done to test the viability of providing day- time child-care facilities at the head offices of Rabobank Nederland in Utrecht and Eind hoven. There are Dutch flowers and plants throughout the year. Despite the impressive bulb fields, which draw many thousands of tourists every year, 90% of Dutch flowers are nowadays grown in glass- houses. Dutch flowers as well as plants are sold through the world's largest flower auctfon In Aalsmeer, which is near to Amsterdam. The total floor area of the auction hall is 335,000 m2, equivalent to the area of 60 fbotball pitches. About 12 million flowers and one million pot plants are sold each day. Each consignment is first examined by inspectors who record any observations on a document. Auctioning can then begin. The auctioneer calls out the flowers he is of fering and the nursery from which they come. He also reads out any remarks record- ed by the inspectors. It is im portant for the 300 buyers in Many cellars in Utrecht are transformed into restaurants and cafés. the auction hall to stop the auction clock, which turns backwards from 100 to 1, at exactly the amount that they consider right for the consign ment on offer. A matter of keeping their finger near the stop button and quick reac- tions. The auction computer in- dicates who has bought which consignment at which price. So mistakes are impossible. The traders have their flowery merchandise within a mere 15 minutes of auctioning. You will find the flowers and plants on display in stalls and shops throughout the Netherlands just a short time later. However, only a small part of what is auctioned in Aalsmeer remains in Holland. Over 80% of the products are exported. The exporters prepare the large consignments of flowers ready for dispatch. First by splitting them into smaller Standard bunches and then carefully packing them, as they have a long journey ahead of them. Aircraft con tainers are often filled in the auction building. So the flowers and plants are on sale in florist's shops all over the world by the same evening or the following morning. As an agribusiness bank, Rabobank is of course present in the auction hall with a Branch. Three colleagues are respon- sible for foreign exchange transactions, which are the main business of the office. When visiting Holland, a tour to the Flower Auction is worth- while.

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1989 | | pagina 6