The construction of an entirely new cheesemaking facility with cheese ripening room, offices and grounds began in August 2012. The greenest cheese dairy in the world was officially opened by Queen Maxima on November 13, 2014. The cheesemaking facility was built in a way that suits the unique landscape of the Beemster polder. The most sustainable materials and techniques were used to construct the building. The cheesemaking facility is CO2 neutral, and from 2020 onwards we want our production process to be climate neutral as well. The cheesemaking facility is currently in a test phase. Award-winning design Soon after the building was opened, it won an award for most sustainable and best business building in the Netherlands (ARC14). In May 2015 the design of the cheesemaking facility also won the “identity & iconic value” category of the Netherlands’ most prestigious architecture prize: BNA Best Building of 2015.
The current Beemster cheesemaking facility at the same location in the Beemsterpolder has been called De Tijd since 1929.
With this name, we are making a pledge: our new cheesemaking facility will contribute to the future in a way that suits our origins and identity. We remain loyal to our past traditions, such as stirring the curd by hand and natural ripening. We are using the most modern, sustainable technologies in order to be as energy efficient as possible. CONO will therefore remain a pioneer in the area of genuine taste and sustainability.
Quality is sustainable
The craftsmanship that’s in our DNA is there for everyone to see, in the taste of our cheese and the sustainable processes we use in our dairy farm and cheesemaking facility. The new facility has everything we need to make the best possible cheese. As one of our construction partners says: “Since quality is CONO’s top priority, we are building them a facility that has no parallel in the Netherlands.”
Partners in sustainable building
To achieve our sustainability goals we have initiated a project together with our most important engineering and building partners. Sustainability is a human process and we really need to do it all together. We challenged our building partners to come up with innovative solutions that will save on heating, cooling and water. Together we are on our way to creating a climate-neutral cheese dairy.
November 13, 2014 was a very special and festive day. Queen Máxima opened the cheese dairy in the presence of 400 CONO employees and guests. Two cheesemakers and several livestock farmers had the honor of explaining to her how we work and for many the warm and radiant presence of our queen was an unforgettable experience.
CONO Cheesemakers is also a regional iconic project for the national sustainability organization Urgenda. Urgenda considers CONO a leading force in sustainable development in the Dutch dairy sector and supports, with its knowledge and experience, the scaling up of sustainable projects, including those that will benefit the new cheesemaking facility.
The new building has a corridor for visitors. Large windows offer a view of the cheesemaking facility, so that everyone can see with their own eyes how our cheese is made. Guided tours are not possible at present. We will only start giving tours once our facility is fully operational, which we estimate to be some time in 2018.