Dutch founder of flower empire buried in Vietnam, where he built his legacy

By Lam Vien, Thanh Nien News

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Thomas Hooft and a worker on a flower farm of Dalat Hasfarm in Da Lat, Vietnam. Photo: Lam Vien Thomas Hooft and a worker on a flower farm of Dalat Hasfarm in Da Lat, Vietnam. Photo: Lam Vien

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Ashes of Thomas Hooft, the famed Dutch founder of flower firm Dalat Hasfarm, were brought from the Netherlands to Vietnam on Sunday for burial, as per his last wish. 
The company from the Central Highlands resort town said in a statement that its 67-year-old founder died from a serious disease.
He went back to his home country in December for treatment, planning to return to Vietnam for Christmas and New Year holidays.
However, his condition deteriorated and he passed away on January 23, the company said.
He wished to be buried in Da Lat, the place that helped him gain the recognition as one of Southeast Asia’s best flower farmers, it said.
Born in 1948 in Zwolle, The Netherlands, he began his career with a farm in Europe before becoming the director of Hasfarm flower company in Indonesia in 1989.
In 1994, he moved to Da Lat to open Dalat Hasfarm with an investment of US$700,000.
Under his management, Dalat Hasfarm became one of the biggest flower companies in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, with three farms of more than 300 hectares (741 acres) in total. 
Many local farmers have also succeeded in building their own farms after working and learning at the company. 
The Central Highlands town now has nearly 2,000 hectares of flowers. 
Hooft retired from Dalat Hasfarm in 2012, leaving the position to a compatriot and working as a consultant to the company.
He lived with his Vietnamese wife in Da Lat. 
 

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