Nevil Schoenmakers

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Nevil Martin Schoenmakers is an Australian born cannabis breeder known for founding, in the 1980s and in the Netherlands, the first Cannabis seedbank, which was called "The Seed Bank of Holland." This was also the first seed company to advertise directly to the public in High Times magazine.


Born in Australia from Dutch parents, Nevil left Australia for the Netherlands in 1976. He started growing cannabis in 1978 and soon discovered that the commercially available Thai, Colombian and Nigerian equatorial strains did not perform well in the northern European climate of Holland. He started growing indoors under artificial lighting in 1979, but was not satisfied with the results using equatorial Sativas indoors. Realizing that the solution to the problem was a question of genetics, he decided that the best way to obtain good genetics was to start a seed bank. In doing so, he was able to source and distribute premium Cannabis genetics from all across the world. The idea of breeding cannabis to suit varying conditions was obvious to him as he had a background as a champion bird breeder, a hobby he started at just 8 years of age. His original cannabis breeds, made from wild and coffee shop varieties, were not of great quality until a breeder known as "Sam the Skunkman" sold him "Original Haze" and "Skunk #1" seeds to help with the breeding. From then on, Nevil collected popular, potent strains of cannabis from other breeders and crossed them to create his own strains. The seed bank he created then became a company that was named "The Seed Bank of Holland". In October 1990, he was targeted by the DEA in Operation Green Merchant for shipping seeds to the United States and was wanted for extradition to the USA. After years of legal battles, the charges were ultimately dropped. He could not be extradited from Holland as his activities were legal under Dutch law. In 1991, The Seed Bank was bought by Ben Dronkers, the founder of Sensi Seeds.

Popular Culture

Today, Nevil is seen as the original father of the Cannabis seed industry and many awarded strains have been created by him and in his honour, such as Nevil's Haze, Nevil's Skunk, Silver Pearl, Silver Haze and many others. His breeding with Northern Lights, a mostly Indica strain originally developed in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, became an inspiration for indoor Indicas, and the Northern Lights genetics are found in the pedigrees of nearly all of the best modern Indica lines. He is best remembered for the F1 hybrid Northern Lights 5 X Haze. This hybrid and its daughters have dominated the Cannabis Cup from the 1980s to the present day. The original Northern Lights 5 X Haze plant of Nevil's has been living on through clones and still wins championship awards. It is this cross that led to many of the modern medicinal strains that are popular today.