His Majesty the King has awarded the honorary title of Koninklijk (Royal) to IHC Merwede. In a special ceremony today, the Mayor of Sliedrecht, Mr van Hemmen, presented this accolade to IHC Merwede's CEO, Bram Roelse. In light of this honour, the company has decided to change its name to Royal IHC and will also include the royal crown in its revised corporate identity.
The Royal title is an award granted to companies or organisations that meet certain conditions. To qualify, the nominated company must have been in existence for at least 100 years and should have prestige with regard to its image, size and reliability. It must be of national importance to and have prominence in The Netherlands – preferably with an international outlook – and the size of the company, the number of employees and its annual turnover are also taken into account.
In 2013, IHC Merwede had been in existence for 325 years. The predecessors of the Kinderdijk shipyards, L Smit & Zoon and J & K Smit, were already active in the 17th Century, while the other four IHC shipyards were involved from the late 19th Century (Gusto in Schiedam and Conrad in Haarlem) or the beginning of the 20th Century (Verschure in Amsterdam and De Klop in Sliedrecht).
Finally, in 1943 the six shipyards – specialising in the construction of dredging equipment and tin mills – decided to a form of collaboration, Industrieele Handels Combinatie (IHC) Holland. Nowadays, IHC Merwede is renowned as the world's leading supplier of efficient vessels and equipment for the dredging and wet mining markets, and recognised as a reliable supplier of innovative ships and supplies for offshore construction.
The presentation of the Royal title took place at the grand opening of IHC Merwede's exposition at the National Dredging Museum in Sliedrecht, which – together with an exposition about the company in the Maritime Museum Rotterdam – will run until 23 November this year. The Sliedrecht exhibition (IHC Merwede: yards with a reputation) focuses primarily on the six shipyards, their products and people.
The Rotterdam display (Hi-tec Dutch maritime) highlights the innovative contribution that IHC Merwede has made towards the welfare of man and society over the decades. This is shown by the impact of the company on key social developments, such as population growth, increasing world trade, growing energy consumption and the spiralling demand for minerals.
New name and logo
IHC Merwede's CEO Bram Roelse says: "Obviously we are extremely proud of receiving this distinguished title – so much so that we have decided to change our company name to Royal IHC and add the royal crown to our revised logo. In this way, we have reverted the name back to the roots of our wonderful company, which now has more than 3,000 employees.
"Merwede was added to IHC in 2005 after the merger between the two companies, but we feel that the new name matches the current need for projecting one company to the outside world and is also easier to pronounce on an international basis. The title and name symbolise the character of this company, in which keywords such as internationalisation, innovation, pride, passion and dedication have played a very important role over the centuries."