Frans van der Hoff

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Frans van der Hoff (born 13 July 1939), [1] or Francisco VanderHoff Boersma as he is called in Latin America, is a Dutch missionary who, in collaboration with Nico Roozen and ecumenical development agency Solidaridad, launched Max Havelaar, the first Fairtrade label in 1988. Frans van der Hoff's contacts with disadvantaged Mexican coffee producers were key in securing the supply and ensuring the success of the very first Fairtrade certification initiative.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

Nicolaas Josephus Maria "Nico" Roozen is a Dutch economist who, in collaboration with Frans van der Hoff and ecumenical development agency Solidaridad, launched Max Havelaar, the first Fairtrade certification initiative in 1988. Roozen played a key role in convincing several major Dutch retailers to offer Fairtrade goods, which later led to the commercial success of Fairtrade certification. On October 25, 2007, Nico Roozen was invested as a Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau for his years of dedication to Fairtrade.


Frans van der Hoff was born as the 7th of 17th children of a disciplined farming family Van der Hoff-Boersma that had moved from Friesland to the village De Rips in the southern Netherlands. [2] He became politically active early on in student movements during his studies at Radboud University Nijmegen. He later received a Ph.D. in political economy and another one in theology while studying in Germany. In 1970, van der Hoff moved to Santiago de Chile to work in the barrios as a worker-priest. During the 1973 coup, van der Hoff moved to Mexico to continue his work in the slums of Mexico City. Seven years later, he moved to Oaxaca in the Southern part of Mexico. As a worker-priest, he quickly integrated the community and started to learn about the misery and economic hardship of local coffee producers. In 1981, he participates in the launch of UCIRI (Union de Comunidades Indigenas de la Region del Istmo), a coffee producer cooperative created to bypass local traders (also called coyotes) and pool resources.

Friesland Province of the Netherlands

Friesland, also historically known as Frisia, is a province of the Netherlands located in the northern part of the country. It is situated west of Groningen, northwest of Drenthe and Overijssel, north of Flevoland, northeast of North Holland, and south of the Wadden Sea. In 2015, the province had a population of 646,092 and a total area of 5,100 km2 (2,000 sq mi).

De Rips is a village east of Helmond and Eindhoven in southern part of the Netherlands. Until the late 1990s it formed the municipality of Bakel and Milheeze alongside Milheeze and Bakel, but in 1997 it was forced to merge with the larger Gemert municipality.

Radboud University Nijmegen University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Radboud University Nijmegen is a public university with a strong focus on research located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. It was established on 17 October 1923 and is situated in the oldest city of the Netherlands. The RU has seven faculties and enrolls over 19,900 students. The university features many student associations which encourage participation in extracurricular activities.

In 1985, van der Hoff met Nico Roozen at the Utrecht train station through a mutual friend. Roozen, who was then responsible for business development at ecumenical development agency Solidaridad, quickly became interested in van der Hoff's work. [3] On November 15, 1988, the two launched together the first Fairtrade labelling initiative, Max Havelaar. The initiative offered disadvantaged coffee producers following various social and environmental standards a fair price, significantly above the market price, for their crop. The coffee, originating from the UCIRI cooperative, was imported by Dutch company Van Weely, roasted by Neuteboom and then sold directly to world shops and retailers across the Netherlands. The initiative was a great success and was replicated in several other markets.

The Solidaridad Network is an international civil society organisation founded in 1969. Its main objective is facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound and profitable supply chains. It operates through nine regional expertise centers in over 40 countries. Solidaridad seeks to transform production practices to promote fair and profitable livelihoods and business opportunities, decent working conditions and a fair living wage. Solidaridad without depleting the landscapes where people live and thrive.

Stichting Max Havelaar company

Stichting Max Havelaar is the Dutch member of FLO International, which unites 23 Fairtrade certification producer and labelling initiatives across Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Several of these corresponding organizations in other European countries also use the Max Havelaar name. The name comes from Max Havelaar, which is both the title and the main character of a Dutch 19th-century novel critical of Dutch colonialism in the Dutch East Indies.

Coffee Brewed beverage

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are C. arabica and C. robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and then brewed with near-boiling water to produce the beverage known as coffee.

In 2006, Fairtrade-certified sales amounted to approximately €1.6 billion worldwide [4] and over 569 producer organizations, representing roughly over 1.5 million producers, in 58 developing countries were Fairtrade certified. [4]


Van der Hoff was awarded the 2006 North-South Prize by the Council of Europe.

Council of Europe International organization for defending human rights

The Council of Europe is an international organisation whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states, covers approximately 820 million people and operates with an annual budget of approximately 500 million euros.

Van der Hoff was appointed Commander in the Order of the Crown (Belgium) by the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation in 2006.

The Order of the Crown is a national order of the Kingdom of Belgium. The Order is one of Belgium's highest honors.

Van der Hoff received in 2006 an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium for his efforts to establish a 'different economy'.

In 2006 he was awarded the Groeneveldprize from the Groeneveld Foundation in the Netherlands, for his special efforts for nature and the preservation of the environment.

He was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by French president Chirac in 2005.

See also

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Fair trade form of trade

Fair trade is an institutional arrangement designed to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. Members of the fair trade movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. The movement focuses in particular on commodities, or products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries, but also consumed in domestic markets most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, wine, sugar, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold. The movement seeks to promote greater equity in international trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency, and respect. It promotes sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. Fair trade is grounded in three core beliefs; first, producers have the power to express unity with consumers. Secondly, the world trade practices that currently exist promote the unequal distribution of wealth between nations. Lastly, buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than traditional charity and aid.

Fairtrade International voluntary association

Fairtrade International otherwise known as in many countries Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International e.V. (FLO) was established in 1997, and is an association of 3 Producer Networks, 19 National Fairtrade Organizations and 8 Fairtrade Marketing Organizations that promote and market the Fairtrade Certification Mark in their countries

<i>Max Havelaar</i> book of 1860

Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company is an 1860 novel by Multatuli, which played a key role in shaping and modifying Dutch colonial policy in the Dutch East Indies in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In the novel, the protagonist, Max Havelaar, tries to battle against a corrupt government system in Java, which was then a Dutch colony.

Multatuli Dutch author

Eduard Douwes Dekker, better known by his pen name Multatuli, was a Dutch writer best known for his satirical novel Max Havelaar (1860), which denounced the abuses of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies. He is considered one of the Netherlands' greatest authors.

Fairtrade certification certification of fair trade compliance

The Fairtrade certification initiative was created to form a new method for economic trade. This method takes an ethical standpoint, and considers the producers first.

The Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation is a charity based in the United Kingdom that works to empower disadvantaged producers in developing countries by tackling injustice in conventional trade, in particular by promoting and licensing the Fairtrade Mark, a guarantee that products retailed in the UK have been produced in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards. The Foundation is the British member of FLO International, which unites FLO-CERT, 25 National Fairtrade Organisations and 3 Producer Networks across Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

International Fairtrade Certification Mark

The International FAIRTRADE Certification Mark is an independent certification mark used in over 50 countries. It appears on products as an independent guarantee that a product has been produced according to Fairtrade political standards.

Fairtrade Canada, formerly TransFair Canada, is a national non-profit certification and public education organization promoting Fairtrade certified products in Canada to improve the livelihood of developing world farmers and workers. It is the Canadian member of FLO International, which unites 24 fair trade producer and certification initiatives across Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Association Max Havelaar France

Association Max Havelaar France is the French member of FLO International, which unites 23 Fairtrade producer and labelling initiatives across Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The fair trade movement has undergone several important changes since its early days following World War II. Fair trade, first seen as a form of charity advocated by religious organizations, has radically changed in structure, philosophy and approach. The past fifty years have witnessed massive changes in the diversity of fair trade proponents, the products traded and their distribution networks.

The Fair trade debate is a debate around alleged issues with the Fairtrade brand. The debate surrounds the ethics and alleged economic implications of fair trade. Some criticisms have been raised about fair trade systems. One 2015 study in a journal published by the MIT Press concluded that producer benefits were close to zero because there was an oversupply of certification, and only a fraction of produce classified as Fair Trade was actually sold on Fair Trade markets, just enough to recoup the costs of certification. Some research indicates that the implementation of certain fair trade standards can cause greater inequalities in some markets where these rigid rules are inappropriate for the specific market. In the fair trade debate, there are complaints of failure to enforce the fair trade standards, with producers, cooperatives, importers and packers profiting by evading them.

Max Havelaar-Stiftung (Schweiz)

The Max Havelaar Foundation is a non-profit certification and public education organization promoting Fairtrade products in Switzerland to improve the livelihood of developing world farmers and workers. The Max Havelaar Foundation is the Swiss member of FLO International, which unites 23 Fairtrade producer and labelling initiatives across Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Several of these corresponding organizations in other European countries also use the Max Havelaar name. The Swiss Max Havelaar organization was founded in 1992 by the Third World aid organisations Brot für alle, Caritas, Fastenopfer, HEKS, Helvetas and Swissaid.

Fair trade coffee

Fair Trade coffee is coffee that is certified as having been produced to fair trade standards.

Boersma is a West Frisian occupational surname meaning "farmer('s son)". In 2007 6916 people in the Netherlands carried the name. Variant forms are Boorsma, Boerema, Boerma, Boersema. People with the name include:

Union of Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus Region

The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus Region, is a farmer's cooperative in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. It was established in 1982 to assist in production, marketing and distribution of locally produced coffee and other products. UCIRI was a pioneer of organic coffee production and one of the first fair trade suppliers.

Van 't Hof and Van 't Hoff are Dutch toponymic surnames meaning "from the homestead". Other variants are Van Hoff, Van den Hof, Van der Hoff, Van't Hof and Vanthof. Notable people with these surnames include:

Roosen is a Dutch surname. It is either of matronymic origin or refer to a rose or roses. Among variant forms are Roose, Rooze or Roozen. Notable people with the surname include:


  1. Frans van der Hoff uit De Rips viert zijn 40-jarig priesterfeest ook in De Rips (in Dutch)
  2. Grondlegger Max Havelaar keurmerk komt naar Culemborg (in Dutch)
  3. Jan van der Kaaij (2004). Building a sustainable, profitable business: Fair trade coffee Archived 2008-04-06 at the Wayback Machine .. URL accessed on September 24, 2006.
  4. 1 2 Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (2007). URL accessed on May 24, 2007.