Kite supports project to replace diseased trees in the Venneperhout

Kite, a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, will support a project of the State Forestry Commission over the next four years in which the avenue of ash trees in Venneperhout in the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer will be renewed.

Green team of Kite and alderman

Caption: The green team of Kite and aldermen give the go-ahead for the multi-year project

In this multi-year project, at least 550 diseased ash trees, which stand in a double row on either side of a 1100-meter-long bicycle path, will be replaced with new, healthy trees. The go-ahead for the multi-year project was given by Chris Crowell, VP Operations & Site Head of Kite's European cell therapy production facility in Hoofddorp, aldermen Mariëtte Sedee and Marja Ruigrok of the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer and the North Holland provincial head of the State Forestry Commission Riena Tienkamp last Friday. Together they unveiled the new name of the bicycle path, which from now on will be called “Vliegerlaantje.” This path officially launches a joint effort to make this part of the forest more sustainable. Kite received monetary support from Buitenfonds, an independent foundation that raises funds for project for nature of the State Forestry Commission.

”Kite is convinced that companies need to take responsibility for the impact they have on their surroundings and the environment. This starts for us with our premises in Hoofddorp, which is completely CO2 neutral, has energy label A and generates solar energy from over 1,900 solar panels on the roof. Within our walls, our nearly 900 employees work on people’s health. We want to have an impact not only on health and well-being, but also on communities and the area in which we are located. We see replacing these trees and maintaining our environment as part of this responsibility. Our employees will also take an active role in making this part of the forest the best it can be. We look forward to an even more beautiful Venneperhout,’’ said Chris Crowell, VP Operations & Site Head of Kite.

A sustainable environment 

The Venneperhout is a young forest with an important role as a green and recreational site for the immediate area, including the residents of Nieuw-Vennep and Hoofddorp. The double avenue of ash trees along the bicycle path through the forest is seriously suffering from ash dieback, which is caused by a fungus for which there is no cure. As a result, these trees are no longer healthy and must be cut down.

‘’Ash dieback not only causes the ash trees to slowly die; the weakened trees can also be a potential hazard to passersby. The partnership with Kite allows us to replace the ash trees over the next four years, making the avenue beautiful, healthy and safe again for nature and recreationists. We are therefore pleased that companies like Kite want to contribute in this way to the viability of an area that is so important for cyclists and walkers from all over Haarlemmermeer. Everyone benefits from this: nature, local residents and the people who work here,’’ said Riena Tienkamp of the State Forestry Commission.


Caption: The bicycle path from now on will be called “Vliegerlaantje

The diseased trees will be uprooted first, then the new trees will be planted incrementally during the winter season. The new plantings will consist of a variety of tree species. This will make the trees along the avenue less vulnerable if a disease should strike one of the tree species.

Social contribution to the municipality 

‘’The municipality of Haarlemmermeer offers an attractive business climate with high-quality and diverse companies. Kite is a leading international company in the field of innovative Life Sciences & Health, and we greatly appreciate this social contribution to our municipality,’’ said Marja Ruigrok, alderman for Economic Affairs, Traffic & Transport and Culture.

"We are pleased with these plantings in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer," said alderman Mariëtte Sedee of Public Health & Large-Scale Green. "Trees are an important part of the restoration of biodiversity, cleaner air and a healthier living environment. This path will provide a nice, inviting walk or bike ride close to Schiphol Airport.”

Firmly rooted in the region 

Construction of Kite's European cell therapy production facility began in Hoofddorp in 2018. With an area of 19,000 m2, the facility is among the largest of its kind worldwide. Kite and its nearly 900 employees feel particularly at home in the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer and the immediate area where they operate 365 days a year. Kite employees will roll up their sleeves several times in the coming years to support the State Forestry Commission and the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer in managing the park forest.

About Kite 

Kite is a relatively young biopharmaceutical company, founded in 2009 in California and specializing in cell therapy. Since 2020, Kite's European production facility for cell therapy has been located in Hoofddorp. Over 900 employees of 50 different nationalities work in this high-tech environment. With an area of 19,000 m2, it is one of the largest cell therapy productions worldwide.