Hollands Wol Collectief

Hollands Wol Collectief processes Dutch wool into semi-finished products.

Mirthe Snoek and Janne de Hoop are the founders, both have a background as Industrial Designers. “We got to know each other as sustainable designers in a world where a lot is made out of plastic and produced in China and we found that quite frustrating. Our mission is to be able to design circularly. When we heard about the wool surplus, it saddened us. You want to design circularly, but the materials are not available. We have taken the step to solve that problem, so more sustainable design can be achieved by making materials available. Two years ago we participated in the Wool Hackathon at BlueCity, initiated by the municipality of Rotterdam and the Province of South Holland. Martin the city shepherd said: my wool has no worth, can't we do something about this issue? We quickly saw our role in this: someone must oversee the chain and see where links are missing or broken and take responsibility for it. We said: we think we can do this! Then it all happened very quickly. Within a few weeks the website was launched and we received enthusiastic responses. The company was founded at the end of 2021. There is only one large party in the Netherlands that buys the wool and it really offers rock-bottom prices, a few cents per kilo. Unless you have colored wool or wool from moor sheep such as the grazing sheep here in the city, then you have to pay to get rid of your wool. It has suddenly become waste, while the fiber is super high-quality. Dutch wool is also not used for clothing because it is too rough. Currently cheap wool from Australia or New Zealand ends up in our clothing. Due to the low prices, many Dutch farmers have it composted or landfilled. Wool can be used for many applications, such as interior applications, acoustic panels, laptop covers, filling for sofas, insulation material, yarn and a special application is that the wool is often used in the funeral industry as a lining for coffins. Since November last year we have been selling felt and filling material made from Dutch wool. Currently we are in the constructive phase and finding the right market for the right product. We want to make the wool as available as possible to as many producers who turn it into an end product.”

Questions & challenges

“We encounter typical scaling-up problems, which we want to solve in a circular manner. Challenges such as logistics and storage, we want to grow with our company, but on the other hand there is no market yet. Dutch wool in this capacity is new on the market, therefore, we still need to build it up. The factory part is where we are aiming for. However, at the moment we see a number of logistics problems that are very concrete and that fit the challenges that are being tackled in the Circular Factory program. The goal is to set up the chain and make it circular. As a circular company you often have to find new ways because everything is based on non-circular entrepreneurship. I am also looking forward to the conversations with the other participants, what challenges they face or how they view certain challenges. Another important topic for us is having a sustainable policy regarding employees. It is often normal for entrepreneurs to work 60 hours a week, but we want to work 32 to 36 hours. That is a challenge, we often conclude that we cannot complete the list of to-do’s. It is also an experiment for us, we really want to be a sustainable company and go for the long term and the impact, and that also applies to the people within the company. Profit is good, working is better. You have a company to add something to the world and not to get something out of it, I think that’s a nice quote from Johan van den Elzen. Our aim is a circular wool hub, that is our priority. Where we are able to process ten times as much wool as we do now.”

The future

“In 5 years from now, in the summer, we will have just purchased a lot of wool throughout the Netherlands, the storage will be full of washed wool and we are working with a number of producers to turn it into various applications. We do this with about ten employees. Our electric truck delivers the first orders of the day and Janne has just returned from the wool laundry, the first version that is already there.”


“We find it important to be an example to others, we do not only want to be commercial, but also have a social role. That is still a puzzle. Our goal is to be an example and show how to function in the circular economy. I hope we will be questioned about this during the Circular Factory.”



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