Dutch dairy firm Campina has reopened its reconstructed Lutjewinkel cheese production facility, which has been idle for a year following two fires in 2004.

Two fires broke out in quick succession in late 2004, bringing cheese production to a virtual standstill for a year. After the second fire, on 3 December 2004, a majority of the facility was destroyed.

Campina CEO Justinus Sanders said: “The two fires had an enormous impact on staff. Despite these setbacks they carried on, undaunted, putting heart and soul into the rebuilding of this facility in this unique location surrounded by the Campina dairy farmers who supply Lutjewinkel with milk from North Holland soil.”

The North Holland-based factory’s cheese can only be made in the region and is covered by the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) system. It is one of the five Campina cheese production facilities in the Netherlands, producing 170m kilos of cheese annually, including the Gouda and Maasdam traditional ranges and other specialty cheeses.

The company’s ambition is to further expand its strong market position in North Holland Gouda cheese over the coming years.

Campina will open its own modern cheese finishing and storage facility in Lutjewinkel in early 2007, resulting in the closure of the company’s cheese storage facility in Alkmaar, and the transfer of finishing activities for the North Holland cheese currently carried out by third parties – such as ageing and packaging.