It is over 150 years ago that Job Dura laid the foundations of our company, when he opened a simple carpenter’s shop in Katendrecht, near Rotterdam. The next Dura generations and the merger with Vermeer made the Dura Vermeer Groep what it is today.
Dura 1855 - 1998
The foundations of Dura Vermeer were laid a hundred and fifty years ago in the village of Katendrecht, a stone’s throw away from Rotterdam. On 30 march 1855, Job Dura, then 25 years of age, established himself as a self-employed building contractor at the Dordtsche Straatweg. He started with a carpenter’s shop, which also served as a ‘client shop’ (contracting firm) and with which he laid the foundations for the contracting tradition of the Dura family. In the middle of the nineteenth century our country transformed from a traditional, rural society into a modern, industrial nation. A great need arose for buildings and Dura responded to this. Despite World War I and the economic crisis of the 1930s, the company expanded to become a national business in residential and non-residential construction. After World War II, Dura began its true expansion. The post-war reconstruction of the Netherlands, and Rotterdam in particular, created many opportunities, as did other countries. Dura not only set itself up as a builder of non-residential buildings, it also made a name as a builder of residential buildings. There was a huge shortage of houses and the company responded to this, for example with prefab construction. With the Dura-Coignetfabriek, which was founded especially for this purpose, the company constructed thousands of houses. Large elements for these houses, e.g. walls and floors, were manufactured in this factory. They were subsequently installed at the construction site, which resulted in a considerable increase in the housing production. Dura saw great opportunities abroad, which lead to branches being opened in South Africa and Australia. In the mid 1980s the company withdrew from Africa due to the apartheid policy. As a result of a decline in activities and the large distance, the company’s Australian branch was subsequently also transferred. In the 1980s/early 1990s, Dura also started to concentrate on the renovation market, partly because the government had changed its policy priorities from quantitative to qualitative residential building. New developments and project developments were an essential part of the activities during this period and, partly in view of building VINEX residential developments, increasingly larger property positions were acquired. In addition to the Randstad and the eastern part of the Netherlands, Dura decided to firmly anchor the business in other regions as well. This resulted in construction companies being acquired throughout the Netherlands.
Vermeer 1961 - 1998
In 1961 Piet Vermeer started his road construction company in Heemstede (the Netherlands). The Haarlemmermeer was the home of the company and would - to this day - remain an important working area. In the 1960s and 1970s, the company experienced a spectacular growth as a result of major government investments in infrastructure. Vermeer and his company responded to the explosive growth in car traffic and consequently constructed hundreds of kilometres of asphalt roads. In order to guarantee a healthy growth of the business and obtain a sounder competitive market position in the civil and hydraulic engineering sector, Vermeer expanded his business in the 1970s with activities related to road construction; installing underground pipelines for gas, water and sewers, and hydraulic engineering concrete works such as viaducts and tunnels. For this the company made a number of acquisitions. As a result of one these acquisitions, Vermeer acquired a non-residential construction company. In the late 1970s, Vermeer also added the specialisation of above-ground (industrial) cables and pipes to its line of activities. In the mid 1980s, Vermeer saw opportunities abroad for its activities, particularly in developing countries which were subsidised by the Dutch government. For example, Vermeer was active in Africa (Cameroon and Ghana) and Vietnam, where it opened a branch for the construction of drinking water facilities. In addition to starting up companies himself (engineering, environment, development of commercial property), over the years Vermeer acquired several infrastructure companies throughout the country to strengthen the activities.
Dura Vermeer 1998 - present
As a result of the scaling-up that occurred in the late 1990s, both Dura and Vermeer realised that their companies could not lag behind and that diversification and growth were essential to expand their market positions. Both companies were looking for a partner to complement their activities and the geographical distribution. Dura’s forte was residential and non-residential building and Vermeer’s was infrastructure. The companies were of the same size, were both family businesses in the same sector of industry, but in different segments. Both companies dovetailed perfectly and a merger offered the opportunity to retain the leading market position. On 12 November 1998, the merger of Dura and Vermeer was a fact.