19 juni 2019
On a sunny weekday we sit, enjoying a drink, in the backyard of Wim Boender senior's house in Rhoon and talk about the history of the Boender family with Van der Vorm Vastgoed. Two gentlemen with a rich history within the Van der Vorm Group, Wim senior at the construction company and Wim junior at the real estate branch.
"Getting an ice cream in your bathrobe and on slippers."
Wim Boender sr. joined Van der Vorm in January 1960. For the first 7 years he worked as an executor, after which he grew to become a manager. As a company, Van der Vorm was very conservative. Jan van der Vorm, especially, never did anything to embarrass himself, unless you think going for ice cream in a bathrobe and on slippers in Rhoon, where the family lived at the time, is embarrassing.
Wim Boender Jr. adds that Jan van der Vorm used to go the village in his old rags to get Chinese. That was the most normal thing in the world at the time. The family was averse to fuss.
"Construction and real estate were separated."
Wim Jr. and Wim Sr. have never worked together during their employment. Construction and real estate were separated. However, if there was a shortage of carpenters, for example, then Wim Jr. was called in. Material, scaffolding and trailers also went back and forth. Real estate picked up the materials in Papendrecht. The fleet was also in Papendrecht. There they even worked on the cars themselves. They had their own car mechanics and they did repairs themselves, only large damages were outsourced. Everything was owned by Van der Vorm, they hated leasing.
“ Family Boender within Van der Vorm"
Wim sr. worked at Vorm until he was 65 years old. In those days that was very special, because people could already retire at the age of 57. Last month, Wim Jr. celebrated his 40th anniversary at Van der Vorm Vastgoed. He thought he was going to enjoy a holiday 40 years ago, but the van had already pulled up for him to get in. This is how his career with Van der Vorm Vastgoed began. Wim sr. other son also worked for Van der Vorm, as well as cousin Arie and cousin Kees.
Both are proud of what they have achieved. Proud of the projects they've been allowed to put in place. They both had to deal with a management with a clear vision. In public, they would never criticize each other.
In 1999, just before the split between construction and real estate, Wim sr. retired. He had saved up his days off so that he could retire before the summer in June. He had been asked to stay, but he didn't want to.
For Wim Jr., an exciting time was about to begin. He worked as a carpenter for the maintenance department and the question was whether this would continue to exist or whether one would be swallowed up by the construction company. Two camps arised within the company. There was no hate, but there was definitely a fork in the road. Construction carried out the major works, while maintenance carried out the smaller works. Most of the money was in real estate.
"Highs and lows"
There were plenty of highlights in the Boender era. For Jr. the recent celebration of his 40 years of service. He is rightly proud that he has grown from a carpenter to a service manager.
For Sr., his highlights were more to do with dealing with employees; the long employment contracts with many jubilees.
"You weren't a carpenter, you were an artist."
When asked whether the gentlemen can describe the time with Van der Vorm in 3 to 5 words, both men immediately refer to the family feeling. Wim Jr. felt he was part of the family, which used to say that you weren't a carpenter, but you were an artist. That was really the crowning glory of your work. For sr., the whole company gave a family feeling from top to bottom. We worked with our own people and they also got the appreciation of the company.
Everyone was involved and there was a real 'we' feeling.
When asked how they view the current Van der Vorm Vastgoed company, Jr. said that it is a very dynamic company. We go from London to Paris, buy a shopping mall here and a nice canal house there. Better described as flexible dynamic.
Sr adds that he finds it very clever how Margreet has developed her business. She's had the courage to pick it up and get on with it. Daan is also doing very well with his construction company.
And so we end this sunny Thursday afternoon while enjoying a drink with two gentlemen who can talk about Van der Vorm for hours.