The greenhouses of Ierapetra
From the 18th to the 20th century Ierapetra had been a relatively poor town, but in 1956 the Dutch agriculturist Paul Herman Felix Kuijpers arrived. He had studied agriculture with a Church scholarship, and in return he was expected to work for a year free of charge in an undeveloped area.
Kuijpers (usually referred to as “Coupers”) chose Ierapetra because he saw that the place had possibilities. He applied innovative greenhouse cultivation methods, although these met with some resistance at first.
Later, however, even the most distrustful locals adopted these methods, and greenhouse cultivation spread to many parts of Crete.
The “Dutchman”, as he was called in Ierapetra, had brought the agricultural revolution to Crete. Thanks to the greenhouses, local income increased exponentially due to exports of early fruit and vegetables to various European countries.
Today, Ierapetra has one of the largest greenhouse complexes in Crete, forming the town’s most important source of income.
In the area of Gra-Lygia, among the greenhouses, stands the statue of Kuijpers, who was killed in a car accident in 1971.