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October 21st, 2019

DSM celebrates 150 years serving the food industry from Delft

Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, is celebrating 150 years of working in partnership with the food industry from its site in Delft, the Netherlands. DSM is marking the anniversary with a unique exhibition and a series of events around microbes, fermentation and biotechnology this autumn. For DSM, biotechnology is an essential pillar for innovation and a driver for growth and is at the core of its R&D and production activities in Delft. The exhibition and events demonstrate how biotechnology can help address the challenges the food and beverage industry and our societies as a whole are facing, such as the need to provide the growing world population with sufficient tasty, healthy and nutritious food, within planetary boundaries.

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Jacques van Marken, founder of the Royal Dutch Yeast and Spirit Factory in 1869.

The Nederlandsche Gist- en Spiritusfabriek (Dutch Yeast and Spirits Factory) was founded by visionary entrepreneur Jacques van Marken (1846-1906) in 1869 to fulfil a need for a reliable source of high-quality baker’s yeast, using the most advanced techniques available. In so doing his purpose was also to provide jobs, livelihoods and development opportunities to employees, their families, and the community. One hundred and fifty years on, that same future thinking, industry focus, state-of-the-art technology, and social engagement lives on in the DSM of today and at the Delft site.

The intervening 150 years has seen the original company and its activities expand and evolve from its beginnings in baker’s yeast and spirits to today’s supplier of enzymes, cultures, taste and biopreservation solutions for the global dairy, baking, beverage and savory industries.

Patrick Niels, President of DSM Food Specialties, which has its global headquarters in Delft:

"Ever since 1869, DSM and our predecessors have been combining scientific curiosity with our advanced technological capabilities and knowledge of applications in the industries we work in, to create specialty food solutions that shape the future of our customers and their brands. For DSM it’s all about driving sustainable change: enabling better food for everyone by providing solutions to reduce sugar in our diets, to get the most value out of (local) raw materials, to increase efficiency, combat food loss and waste, and help lower carbon footprints. We are proud of our history and are honoring our founding father, as well as our long partnership with the food and beverage industry, over the coming weeks and months."

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Rosalind Franklin Biotechnology Center

The site in Delft has also developed to become the most important node in DSM’s global biotechnology R&D network. The Rosalind Franklin Biotechnology Center on the site provides state-of-the-art lab and collaboration facilities for four hundred scientists and technicians active in fermentation, microbiology and biotechnology. This builds on a legacy of pioneering science that started in the original lab on the site, under the leadership of renowned microbiologist Martinus Beijerinck (1851-1931), who was appointed the world’s first professor of Microbiology at Delft Polytechnic, the predecessor of today’s Delft University of Technology.

DSM sees biotechnology as a critical enabler to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by addressing some of the world’s biggest issues, including climate change, resource scarcity, and circularity and by optimizing the global food system. Recent innovations from DSM’s facilities in Delft include a sustainable and scalable production method for the great-tasting, zero-calorie EverSweet™ stevia sweetener for the Avansya joint venture, Maxilact® Smart, the fastest-acting lactase enzyme on the market for lactose-free dairy, and a new technology that turns an inedible agricultural byproduct of rapeseed oil extraction into valuable plant protein for a wide range of uses in food, CanolaPRO™.

Biotech Campus Delft

For DSM, biotechnology is an essential pillar for innovation and a driver for growth. To build on the rich heritage of biotechnology in Delft and encourage cooperation between companies and knowledge institutes, DSM and the TU Delft recently founded the Biotech Campus Delft. This ground-breaking campus in Europe hosts startups, tech- and service-providers, small and medium-sized enterprises and established companies in the field of industrial biotechnology and creates an ecosystem that boosts the transition to a sustainable, bio-based and circular economy. The open innovation campus supports the whole innovation cycle, from research to piloting, and through scale-up to production and commercialization.

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Exhibition Small Life, Big Impact by Micropia

Exhibition Small Life, Big Impact – 150 years of Yeast

To mark the occasion, DSM and the world’s first museum of microbes, ARTIS-Micropia, are presenting a unique temporary experience titled ‘Small Life, Big Impact: microbes shape our world’. Visitors will see the crucial role microbes and biotechnology play in enabling life on earth, as well as in tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges around climate and energy, circularity and food security. In ‘150 years of Yeast’, visitors will also experience the unique history of DSM and its predecessors in Delft since the foundation of the Nederlandsche Gist- en Spiritusfabriek by patriarch and founding father Jacques van Marken in 1869. With his unique approach to social entrepreneurship, he was way ahead of his time. The pop-up experience can be visited in ‘Het Grote Kantoor’, a Dutch historic landmark at DSM in Delft. It is open to the public and to customers and business partners from 12 September to 15 December 2019, and entrance is free. More information can be found at www.150jaargist.nl