For years, the Dutch Van Leendert family of Maastricht has been known for its business activities in game meats. The founder of the current Van Leendert Group is Johan van Leendert. As early as 1968, he started a fish and game shop in the town square of Maastricht, together with his wife Roos. Even then, quality was already of the utmost importance. The word spread fast resulting in a broad customer base from all over the Dutch and Belgian Limburg region.

When China started exporting farmed rabbits in the seventies, Johan immediately decided to import and distribute these Chinese products in the west. After four years, Johan van Leendert acquired the exclusive distributorship of Chinese rabbit products in the Benelux countries Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.

The game product range was greatly expanded during the next couple of years. All of these products were cut and conditioned in the own production facility in Maastricht. Although the home markets were still the Benelux countries, the Van Leendert products started to get exported to Germany and France. The own LOUISA quality brand was launched.

The immediate success of the Chinese rabbit products evoked the desire to do the same with wild hare products. This is why two production sites were taken over in Argentina, the world’s biggest hare exporting country. That way, the necessary quality and continuity for the demanding European market could be guaranteed. In 1985 both Argentinean production activities were concentrated in Infriba S.A.. In the meanwhile, the Van Leendert Group opened a production site in Chili for hares and wild rabbits, still known as Commercial MacLean y Cia. Today the Van Leendert Group is still one of the foremost producers and exporters of hare in the world.

When the iron curtain fell, Johan van Leendert was one of the pioneers who ventured into former Eastern Germany to open up this rich game country for the western European markets. The next step proved to be a small one, moving to the vast game paradise called Poland. The Van Leendert Group still is active in this country with the production company Brandenburg Game which handles mainly red deer, roe deer and wild boar.

Just after the turn of the century, the range of meat products had a surprising addition. This is when the Van Leendert Group started producing and distributing Patagonian Lamb from Chili. The qualities of this lamb were found to be so exceptional that it proved to be a valuable addition to the product range. The whole production process of these lamb products is done in the group’s Chilean company, Commercial MacLean y Cia.

Over the years, the family owned Van Leendert Group has grown to become a European leader in quality game, rabbit and lamb products. The torch has been handed down to the next generation who keeps on shaping the future of this international production and distribution company.