Rotterdam, 17 July 2019
In the context of our 100th anniversary, a great moment to take a look back at the long and beautiful history of our company with Mrs. Van der Vorm./p>
Mrs. Ineke van der Vorm (1935), wife of Jan van der Vorm (born in 1923 and died on October 8, 1999), together with her husband, formed the basis of the current Van der Vorm Vastgoed. The annual shareholders' meeting was recently held. Mrs Van der Vorm is still taking an active part in this.
"Wherever you looked, you saw cranes everywhere on the horizon."
Mrs Van der Vorm met her husband in 1962 on a birthday. They were married in 1966. At that time she experienced the resurrection of Rotterdam. “"Wherever you looked, everywhere you saw cranes on the horizon." Jan's father and grandfather had a construction company.
Jan van der Vorm was sent to technical school in Delft by his father to get his diplomas. He didn't want that, though. He only wanted one thing, to work in Rotterdam, ‘'because that's where the money is.’
He left school and started as a contractor together with his brother Daan in Rotterdam.
“Because that's where the money is.”
At that time, Jan became a member of the Rotterdam-based Contractor Society. These included the contractors known at the time, such as Van Eesteren and De Winter, and many others. Every Friday of the month they met in Engels in the Groothandelsgebouw. The wives came in a ball gown. “It was a dynamic and exciting time, all young entrepreneurs together".
“It turned out to be a big hit.”
An important moment in the history of Van der Vorm was the purchase of the St. Ignatius Church on the Van Vollenhovenstraat. The lady tells us that Jan was a good friend of the then bishop. The bishop indicated that the church was in financial difficulties and asked them to make a bid. The lady tells us that she remembered this very well. Jan and I sat at the kitchen table together, calculating, wondering out loud whether the bid would be enough. It turned out to be enough and they managed to buy the church. The church was demolished and a large office building was built. The company moved from its office on Heemraadsingel to this office building on Van Vollenhovenstraat. A new period was about to begin.
“Jan already had, so to speak, one foot in his grave”
In the 1970s, the construction company grew rapidly through well-known assignments such as the construction of Ahoy, Carel Weeber's Peperclip and the construction of the then tallest building in the Netherlands, the Nationale Nederlanden building located next to the Central Station in Rotterdam. Companies were also taken over, including Muis & de Winter, which was in danger of going bankrupt. Jan thought he should help the employees. The in-laws initially did not think this was a good plan; “In a manner of speaking, Jan already had one foot in the grave.” The acquisition of the Muwi was one of the largest purchases at the time.
“"It turned out to be a big hit," recalls Mrs. Van der Vorm.
“Jan changed from a contractor to a real estate investor.”
It was also at that time that Jan received many orders from pension funds, says Mrs Van der Vorm. A shopping centre was built in Hoogvliet, with the plan to sell it to a pension fund, but Jan decided to keep it himself. For that time a remarkable move for a private investor. In the beginning he was declared crazy, but he thought: “what they (the pension funds) can do, so can I myself.” With this decision, Jan laid the foundations for the current real estate company Van der Vorm Vastgoed. “Jan changed from a contractor to a real estate investor”.
In the years that followed, Jan carefully built up a stable real estate portfolio. Rotterdam, the Drechtsteden, Delft and beyond. Jan turned out to have mastered the real estate profession, the real estate company grew and the entrepreneurship from the 70s, 80s and 90s is still bearing fruit to this day.
“On his deathbed Jan indicated that the real estate branch should never be sold".
Jan died in 1999. Mrs. Van de Vorm says: “On his deathbed Jan indicated that the real estate branch should never be sold”. After the death of her father, Margreet van der Vorm, together with her sister and mother, took over all the shares in the real estate company.
Daan's son, Daan Jr., continued with the construction company in 2003. Margreet soon turned out to have the same genes as her father and Van der Vorm Vastgoed was successfully put further on the European map.
“Margreet soon turned out to have the same genes as her father”.
The current company loves Mrs. van der Vorm. She has respect for Margreet, who joined the company by leaving her employer at the time, BNP Paris. Back then, Margreet was assisted by René de Graaff, who unfortunately also died. He was succeeded by Sico van Ammers, the current Managing Director. Ms. notes that her husband would have been very proud. She herself is also happy and proud of all the employees and full of confidence in the future of the company.
“Hilton Hotel in Willemstad (Curacao)”
In the course of time, Van der Vorm Vastgoed has expanded its working area with acquisitions in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Poland. Mrs. remembers that Jan was also approached in the past to build the Hilton Hotel in Willemstad (Curaçao). She was not in favour of that and in the end they decided not to do it. Her husband Jan wanted to speed up all the projects he was working on. A project in Curaçao would take far too long for him.
Eventually it took 4 to 5 years before the building in Curacao was finished. Margreet decided to invest abroad, what does Mrs Van der Vorm think about that? ”Margreet is young and enterprising”. She's always fully behind her daughter! She follow’s Margreet's activities remotely. “Margreet loves the job and if you like to do something and it goes well, what more do you want? "Yes, it's important to get some rest in time," advises the lady from the bottom of her heart.
Finally, Mrs Van der Vorm wants to say that she is proud of her husband, children and grandchildren. “That's what life is all about". The family lives close to each other, which makes the lady very happy. In the meantime, the oldest grandson has also entered the real estate business. “A nice development, but he has to do what makes him happy!”
Finally, the interview concludes with a wish. It comes straight from her heart. “I hope that this great team will have the wisdom of my husband to continue his life's work in the way he would have done in his good days at this time.”