In this article, we look at some of the highlights in the company’s history; the result of Ben Dronkers’ aspiration to make Sensi Seeds’ cannabis genetics accessible to the wider public, namely the rest of Europe.
In the context of our 30th anniversary, over the next few weeks we will be publishing a series of articles about the pivotal moments in Sensi Seeds’ history. They represent the building blocks of our core values and what we stand for today.
In the previous article in this series, you can read about the steps taken by Sensi Seeds’ founder Ben Dronkers to establish the foundation for the cannabis seed company and all its subsidiaries. Ben Dronkers’ passion and his achievements, namely a seed bank of unique genetic strains, shops in Amsterdam and a museum, have attracted interest from abroad too.
Therefore, this article looks at a few highlights that are the result of Ben Dronkers’ aspiration to make Sensi Seeds’ cannabis genetics accessible to the wider public, namely the rest of Europe.
Launch of the first website
1993 saw the advent of the ‘world wide web’ in the Netherlands. At that time, the internet was slow, primitive, and used mainly by early adopters. Nevertheless, Sensi Seeds monitored developments closely. So when the internet became popular with the wider public in 1996, we launched our very first website. In addition to Dutch, it was also made available in English, French and German.
Sensi Seeds was the first cannabis seed producer in the Netherlands to have a website, perhaps the first in the world. The ‘webshop’ concept was unknown, so the site only provided information about the company and one could order product catalogues. Of course, this almost 20-year-old website is highly amusing to look at today, but we were very proud of it at the time!
Product catalogues and order forms
Ben Dronkers opened his first shop in Amsterdam ten years ahead of the digital revolution. It was the Sensi Seed Club, also known as the Sensi Connoisseurs Club. Within a short space of time, this store established a loyal group of customers. Growers from the Netherlands and beyond came to Amsterdam to share their passion for the plant and to learn about Sensi Seeds’ work in relation to cannabis genetics. At the time, our product catalogues were very popular. Naturally, these attractive guides contained photos of all Sensi Seeds strains, including comprehensive descriptions.
Our first foray into the world wide web made it possible to share that information more widely. The number of requests for product catalogues to be sent to addresses beyond the Netherlands increased steadily. Using an order form, customers could indicate their requirements; a primitive webshop had been established, thus enabling even more people to cultivate Sensi Seeds’ strains.
The first European cannabis expo
Increasing interest in Sensi Seeds from Europe meant there was a growing need for Sensi Seeds to establish personal contact with all these grower enthusiasts. A trade fair provided the ideal platform, but at that time – the early 1990’s – these were only being organised in the Netherlands by Highlife Magazine. The first took place in Utrecht in 1993 and the second a year later in Amsterdam’s Marcanti.
Interestingly enough, Germany hosted one of the first European trade fairs focusing on hemp and cannabis. In 1995, the BioFach expo highlighted hemp as a source of organic raw materials. Given the many positive responses and numerous requests from producers, the organisation decided to devote an expo to the plant, namely CannaBusiness. A year later, the first edition took place at the Europahalle in Castrop-Rauxel. Here, cultivation experts, natural growers and suppliers of production products met, and Sensi Seeds was there too.
Participation in trade fairs remains very important to Sensi Seeds. It is an ideal opportunity to meet cannabis enthusiasts from other countries, as well as our fans. We hope to see you there!
Sensi Seeds establishes a wholesale department
Cannabis has grown in popularity across the whole of Europe in recent decades, particularly in South European countries like Spain and Portugal. As a result, the number of cannabis seed retail outlets has also increased, as well as a growing demand for Sensi Seeds products.
In a documentary aired in 2000 by French broadcaster M6, Ben Dronkers announced (at the 16-minute mark) that 98% of cannabis strains cultivated in Europe originated from the Sensi Seeds Bank. In order to maintain our high standards of quality and customer service outside the Netherlands too, a wholesale department was established in 2002 to enable us to serve our European clients optimally.
Establishing an international editorial content department
One of Sensi Seeds’ goals has always been to inform the public about cannabis and hemp. We seek to make people aware of the plant’s countless uses, as well as counter all the misinformation that is circulated.
Since 2010, our content team monitors global developments in order to produce unique content and breaking news.
In 2010, we started establishing a new tool in this battle: an editorial content department consisting of an international team of writers. Gradually, this department evolved into an unmissable platform at Sensi Seeds. The team comprises an English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch writer, a video editor and a graphic designer, as well as various external writers. Every day, they monitor global developments in order to produce unique content; breaking news, cannabis developments across the world, the history of cannabis and much more.