Have you smelled a sweet and strange odour around the city of Groningen? It might be the large Suiker Unie sugar plant, over in Hoogkerk. On September 10 the plant will begin its so-called ‘sugar beet campaign’. That means smoking chimneys with the characteristic odour and trucks full of beets that run to and from the giant facility.
The beet season usually lasts until sometime in January. The factory expects to be busy for at least 19 weeks. The yield is expected to be about as high as last year, even though there are fluctuations in yield in the various areas due to the unseasonably hot weather. At the factory the sugar beets are processed into crystalised sugar.
A lot of freight traffic is needed to deliver the beets. During the week, beets can be driven between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. On Saturdays only from 12 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Together with Suiker Unie, the Vereniging Wijkraad Hoogkerk is organising a number of guided tours of the factory. Through this, it is hoped that interested parties can see the process from sugar beet to sugar cube. The Suiker Unie will also give an explanation about what happens with the residual products in the modern sugar-making process.
The tours take place on Thursday October 17th, Thursday October 24th, Tuesday November 12th, Tuesday November 26th, and Thursday December 12th. You can register via the website of the local association. Residents of neighborhoods closest to the factory are to be given priority.