150 years of BAM

The story of BAM is one of skill, values and entrepreneurial spirit. From its humble beginnings as a village carpentry shop in the Netherlands in 1869, the company has grown into a leading all-round European contractor that also has a modest, but reputable footprint on all other continents.

1869-1897: The village carpenter

On 12 May 1869, Adam van der Wal set up shop as a carpenter in Groot-Ammers, a polder village at the heart of the Netherlands. While the country was rapidly industrialising, there were still options for a carpenter to ply his trade, including in maintenance of the polder’s many mills.

1898-1927: From local carpentry to national construction

When Adam’s son Jan joined the business in 1898, the scope of the business extended from carpentry to construction. Room to expand the business was limited in Groot-Ammers and the surrounding Alblasserwaard polder, so Jan began to look for business elsewhere. 

1928-1939: Expansion of the business

From 1928 onwards, the company was known under yet another name. Jan’s poor health forced him to make way for his son Joop, who formed a two-man board together with his brother-in-law, Gerrit Jonkheid. 

1940-1945: World War II

During the war years, business for the company the Van der Wals had built since 1869 would gradually dwindle down and finally come to a complete standstill.

1945-1959: Reconstruction of the Netherlands

When peace returned the country slowly got back on its feet. When it did, there was no end to the optimism. The company took its place among the nation’s most important builders, while gradually expanding the scope of its activities

1959-early seventies: Listed at the stock exchange and further growth

From the mid-1950s, with no member of the Van der Wal at the head of the company anymore, BAM was strictly speaking no longer a family business. However, the company has always maintained a strong family culture, with a flat structure, multi-person Boards, and encouragement of employee initiative and participation.

1973-late eighties: The oil crisis and a period of economic struggle

Soon after the structural change of 1971, a further adaptation followed in 1973, this time as a result of new national legislation in compliance with European directives. All subsidiaries were made private (‘BV’ in Dutch). The name of the holding company, BAM Holding NV, had come yet another step closer to its current form.

1988-1999: Further expansion and a jubilee

In 1988, the BAM Holding acquired several companies of the Bredero group. Like BAM, Bredero had developed over the course of the 20th century into a household name in the Dutch construction sector, with a range of subsidiaries operating in different types of construction and related activities. 

2000: Acquisition of NBM

The 1990s were a period of consolidation in the Dutch construction sector. Margins were tight and scale could be leveraged for the sake of financial strength. All major players in the sector, including BAM, had an eye out for opportunities to make the acquisitions that would put them in the most favourable position.

2002: Acquisition of HBG

The decisive moment in BAM’s growth toward its current size and structure came in 2002, with the acquisition of the entire share capital of HBG. This acquisition followed shortly after HBG had been taken over by Spanish contracting firm Dragados, which had consequently been taken over itself by Grupo ACS. BAM and Grupo ACS then reached an agreement for the acquisition of the HBG shares.

2002-… : A leading all-round European contractor with a global footprint

Since 2002, BAM has continued to cement its position as a reputable building company with a nose for innovation and a healthy sense of responsibility towards the planet, its people and their prosperity.