50 years of 'Second life' for army equipment
D. van Dam B.V., specialist in import and export of ex-NATO army vehicles and parts, celebrates its 50th anniversary on 7 February 2016. We can look back with pride on our many years of trading with various countries. In addition, they are proud of the expert staff who have all been working at D. van Dam for many years, some even for almost 40 years.
It started on the cargo bike
50 years ago Dirk van Dam, as a 12-year-old boy on a cargo bike, has fruit in the summer and scrap iron in the winter and this again. The money that this young trader earned he gave to the family at home. The Dirk soon turns to scrap and moves towards Zeist.
Shed in Zeist
Dirk rented a shed with a piece of land in Zeist. There he began to dismantle discarded army vehicles, which he obtained by buying them, for parts. Later on, cars were also completed here and made roadworthy for sale. The stock of vehicles and parts has now become large for the shed. When the opportunity arose to buy the entire site in Zeist, Dirk did so immediately.
Business takeover Bennekom
Dirk traded a lot with a sloop company in Bennekom. When this company became available for takeover, Dirk seized the opportunity and took over the company. This location is now used as the administrative home port and for the bulk stock of parts.
A lot of trade was also purchased from the Dutch army, this was done through 'Domeinen. We looked for a practical place to store all those vehicles. There was a lot of trade with Germany and Belgium and the location in Herkenbosch (Limburg) was extremely suitable due to its size and location. When the Herkenbosch van de 'Domeinen' location was closed, Dirk also took over that location. This was convenient because it was adjacent to the already owned location in Herkenbosch. This site now covers 13 hectares.
Brick factory Remmerden Rhenen
It also became too small for the company D. van Dam B.V. and a location was quickly found, the former Brick Factory Remmerden in R. This location has a lot of luggage that can be stored. The work was not yet complete and preparation of the cars and vehicles so that they can be sold.
Takeover by son Dirk van Dam
After the death of Dirk van Dam Sr. in 2007 son Dirk van Dam Jr. continued his father's business. Son Dirk van Dam had his own company called D. van Dam Jr. BV (founded in 1988, focused on American 4x4 vehicles) in Rhenen. The companies were merged, but both companies kept their own identities. The Steenfabriek in Rhenen was sold and the activities were moved to Steenoven 9 (same industrial area). There you will now find the Land Rover division.
Current business activities
Current trade is not import and export of ex-NATO military vehicles and parts. The various locations ensure that there is a lot in stock and can therefore be delivered immediately. The location in Rhenen is the Landrover division, Location Bennekom houses the office and the distribution and storage of parts (new and used). The location with the bulk stock of vehicles and parts is located in Herkenbosch. More than a thousand trucks and other vehicles are parked here. In addition to the trucks, there are also ambulances, tankers, bulldozers and other heavy ex-army equipment on wheels. The vehicles are purchased from various armies; England, America, Germany, Belgium, France and Denmark. Three years ago, for example, eight hundred DAF trucks were bought from the Dutch army.
One of the largest in Europe
“It makes no sense to buy a few trucks at once. If eighty are offered somewhere, we buy all eighty. In this way we build up a nice stock and we can deliver immediately. Even if, for example, someone wants to have a hundred DAFs immediately”. “We are one of the largest in Europe, also because we have this method of purchasing. We have it in house and we can deliver it quickly. That is a good selling point.” explains Dirk. More than 75 percent of the trade consists of the purchase and sale of army vehicles. The rest of the trade consists of selling parts.
Customers are other traders and, for example, large aid organizations that need vehicles for the transport of relief goods. The vehicles drive, for example, in Suriname, South Africa and America. Vehicles are also sold to private individuals. For example, who want to make a world trip and are looking for a suitable vehicle to build from a vehicle to a food truck. Parts are also sold to enthusiasts who start an older generation army vehicle with the original parts in stock.