History of Verstegen

The formation

Verstegen Specerijenhandel en Fabriek van Conserveermiddelen was founded in 1886 by Mr Verstegen. Unfortunately, he only had three or four years’ pleasure from his initiative. He died in 1897. After his death, the company continued under the direction of Messrs. C. Diederik and J. Man in ’t Veld, who held power of attorney. Under their management, the company – naturally – occupied itself with the trade in spices, tropical fruits and baking ingredients

In about 1914, Mr Diederik’s eldest daughter became engaged to Mr F.P. Kersteman, who sold his painting firm and started to work for his future father-in-law Mr Diederik. When, in 1915, the infamous antitrust law was introduced, Verstegen Specerijenhandel en Fabriek van Conserveermiddelen was divided into three parts:

  • C. Diederik en Zn Bakkerijgrondstoffen, headed by Mr Diederik
  • J.H. Verstegen, headed by Mr Man in 't Veld
  • Verstegen Specerijenhandel en Fabriek van Conserveermiddelen, headed by Mr Kersteman, who married Mr Diederik’s daughter in 1918.

The company really prospered particularly after the 1st World War. Despite the crisis years of 1932 and 1933, the company managed to keep its head above water. By supplying quality, service and reliability, Verstegen acquired a large and permanent core of customers, who guaranteed the steady growth of the company. In 1939, Mr B.J. Driessen (the grandfather of our current owner R.M. Driessen) joined the company as representative and married Mr Kersteman’s daughter

The war years

On 14 May 1940, pitch-black clouds hung over Rotterdam and the company’s premises at 104 Hugo de Grootstraat were completely destroyed, with the exception of the safe containing Verstegen recipes. A few hours before the massive bombing of Rotterdam, Mr Kersteman had managed to rescue the recipes from the safe.

One year after liberation on 5 May 1945, some raw materials started to arrive, slowly but surely, and a hesitant start was made from a garage in the Hillegersberg district. It was not until six years after the end of WWII that we again had business premises on Hoornbrekerstraat and quality raw materials in stock.

Growth

After about twelve years, the premises on Hoornbrekerstraat also became too small. On 30 December 1964, we moved into the wonderful new business premises at 62 Giessenweg. Production still goes on there today.

On 30 November 1979, Mr B.J. Driessen took his leave as managing director and owner of Verstegen and he also announced that his son Jan Driessen would be taking over at the helm. Now, the third generation of Driessens is in control at Verstegen and Michel Driessen (son of Jan Driessen) owns the company.