Van Oord has a long marine engineering history, which includes famous names such as Adriaan Volker, Van Hattum en Blankevoort, Hollandsche Aanneming Maatschappij, J.P. Broekhoven, Amsterdamsche Ballast Maatschappij and Aannemers Combinatie Zinkwerken. Marine engineering has its roots in the Netherlands and its reputation is now known throughout the world.
Govert van Oord set up as an independent entrepreneur dealing in marine materials and laid the foundations for the Van Oord business. Around the middle of the 19th century, men such as Arie van Hattum and Adriaan Volker started out as contractors.
During the construction of the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal, Adriaan Volker deployed the first self-propelled suction hopper dredger Adam I. The Nieuwe Waterweg enabled Rotterdam to become a port of international standing.
Dutch marine engineers broadened their horizons and carried out projects on other continents. Van Hattum en Blankevoort performed dredging and sea bed protection work in the port of La Plata in Argentina and continued to work there for years.
The recently founded Hollandsche Aanneming Maatschappij started a series of projects in Surabaya in what was then the Dutch East Indies. One hundred years later, Van Oord is again working in Indonesia.
Van Hattum & Blankevoort, Hollandsche Aanneming Maatschappij, Adriaan Volker and J.P. Bos set up the Maatschappij tot Uitvoering van de Zuiderzeewerken (MUZ). MUZ carried out the construction of a 32 km long Dutch dike (Afsluitdijk), which had been designed by the famous marine engineer Cornelis Lely. Van Oord has named one of its self-propelled split hopper barges after this engineer.
In Port de Bouc, France, Hollandsche Aanneming Maatschappij removed very hard ground using a new type of equipment: the rock breaker HAM 906. This was followed by a number of other projects in the south of France.
Following the 1953 storm surge, large parts of the Netherlands were flooded. The Delta Plan was born and by means of innovative marine engineering projects, the Netherlands was protected from the sea. In 2010, the Delta Works, a blueprint for Dutch expertise, were completed.
The creation of the Netherlands Offshore Company partnership was a result of the developing offshore industry. Various Van Oord companies were now focusing on offshore projects as well.
Aannemers Combinatie Zinkwerken developed the stone dumping vessel, which later evolved into the flexible fallpipe vessel. At the same time, Van Hattum en Blankevoort deployed the largest cutter suction dredger in Europe, the Beverwijk 31.
Substantial port developments took place in the Middle East. Adriaan Volker started the construction of the Port of Jubail in Saudi Arabia.
A consortium in which many Van Oord companies participated carried out the largest dredging project of the 20th century: the land reclamation for the Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong.
As a result of favourable market developments, the trailing suction hopper dredgers became increasingly larger. Ballast Nedam Baggeren built one of the first so-called jumbos.
Van Oord created a striking and unique project in Dubai: an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, Palm Jumeirah.
The construction of the Princess Amalia wind farm off the Dutch coast heralded a new type of marine engineering activity.
Specialised equipment for the construction of offshore wind farms was deployed. The offshore installation vessel Aeolus started work at the Eneco Luchterduinen project.