'Tomorrow we'll found the new company old chap'

At first, Marconi took care of the radio links on Dutch vessels. His company supplied the equipment and the wireless operator, took care of the maintenance and charged the transmission costs. But when the first world war started in the very next year this caused a problem. Because both the English and the Belgians were involved in the war, they could no longer look after equipment on neutral Dutch Ships.

Tomorrow we’ll found the new company, Old Chap.” Which is apparently what Wackers said to his secretary, G. Fritsche on December 5th, 1916. The company was the Nederlandse Telegraaf Mij Radio-Holland (NTM RH). Wackers would be its first director.

The beginning


L.H.F. Wackers, Managing Director from 1916 to 1930.


Radio Room of the 'Noordam' in 1904, the first Dutch passenger liner to be equipped with radiotelegraph.

Roode zee

The radio room of the ocean-going tug 'Roode Zee' in 1912.

Foundation dinner

After the foundation of NTM Radio-Holland, a dinner was held in the evening at Amsterdam's plush Amstel Hotel for all those involved.


The first 10 years

By the time of the tenth anniversary in 1926, it could be said that the NTM RH's first decade was a great success, with strong growth. In that year alone, RH processed some 170,000 telegrams, The company controlled 416 radio stations and employed over 300 wireless operators. Meanwhile, commercial and technical developments succeeded each other at a rapid pace.

Below an overview of some of the navigation equipment in the portfolio of Radio Holland.


‘30s life goes on

At the beginning of the 1930's there were a number of management changes. In 1930, Wackers resigned and was succeeded by Th.P. van den Bergh. But in spite of the recession there was a continuing demand for radio equipment. Demand for telephony installations on fishing vessels increased as did demand from airlines.
Early 1930's, Radio-Holland opened a central radio distribution installation in Curaçao and shortly after, Radio-Holland became the official
ANP (Dutch Press Agency) agent for Surinam.

Photo: In 1932, an office was opened in Curaçao.


World War II

At first, the outbreak of war led to increased trade for Radio-Holland. The Royal Dutch Navy expanded and many ship owners added a wireless operator to the crew. In May 1940, after a short struggle, Nazi Germany occupied Holland. The RH office was totally demolished when Rotterdam was bombarded, though, fortunately, there were no casualties. Chief inspector Meijer escaped to England just in time and he set up an office to be able to keep in touch with the wireless operators who were still on the high seas.

Photo: The Radio-Holland building at De Boompjes after the bombardment.


‘50s Rapid Expansion

For Radio-Holland, the post-war period was one of great expansion. The fleet and hence the volume of traffic handled by the telegram service and demand for wireless operators grew enormously. To meet this demand, Radio-Holland made efforts to promote the profession and its training.
Radio-Holland participated in international conferences, International Chamber of Shipping, The CIRM (Comité International de Radio Maritime) and RAMAC, which, like the CIRM were industry associations of radio companies all over the world.

Photo: The Rotterdam building at the Eekhoutstraat no. 2 was opened in May 1953.

Introduction of radar

The most significant post-war technical development was the arrival of radar. After hasty wartime development, this technology was soon adapted for general use.

Willem Barentsz

The radio room of the 'Willem Barentsz' is part of a large order including radar. The whalers are equipped with radio telephony and direction finders.


The smaller RCA CR-103 model was widely used by fishing vessels as well as coasters by the end of the 1940's.


The fully transistorised KH-17 Radar from Kelvin Hughes on board of the fishing trawler KW144.

River radar

The Radio-Holland motorboat promoting the first Kelvin Hughes 14/9 river radar.


'60s New markets

Many Dutch ship owners, often with an elderly fleet, used this decade for an extensive programme of new construction.Radio-Holland looked after the major part of this new shipbuilding, with communications and navigation equipment mainly under rental/maintenance contract. The wireless operator was given the new rank of Radio Officer and their number grew quickly to a maximum of nearly 800. Radio-Holland also began paying attention to new markets, like yachting, offshore, survey and nautical institutes.

Photo: The radio console of the 'Rotterdam' (call sign PHEG) with Radio Officer Jan de Bock.


'80s Worldwide services

From the start, Radio-Holland's strategy has been to offer a complete worldwide service to clients. In those ports in which Radio-Holland had no office of its own, it could call on the local representatives of the company who repaired the equipment in question, or call on the RAMAC. The future Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, however, will shake this existing procedure to its foundations.

Photo: Radio station on the Holland America Line's flagship: The 'New Amsterdam (III)'


'90s End of an era

For Radio Holland, the last 15 years have been a period of change and further growth. In 1992 parent company Nedlloyd focussed on 'core activities' and sold RH to the Belgian company SAIT. Meanwhile, as technology advances in leaps and bounds, Radio Holland takes the vanguard, as usual. With the introduction of maritime computer networks on board for example.

When GMDSS became a fact in 1999, the era of radio telegraphy, morse code and the radio officer on board, the era which brought Radio Holland to where it is now, came to a definite end. For Radio Holland it was full speed ahead...


'00s New horizons

The first part of this decade Radio Holland became an independent company after a management buy-out from SAIT-Radio Holland. Radio Holland launched a new airtime service for the maritime industry.

In 2006 Radio Holland was taken over by Royal Imtech and became part of the Maritime division Imtech Marine. Imtech Marine operated as a full-service provider and system integrator of tailormade, innovative and sustainable technology solutions covering the whole ship.

2015 A rebirth

For years Imtech was a favourite on the Damrak stock exchange but in August 2015 Royal Imtech ceased to exist due to bankruptcy. At the same time it was announced that Imtech Marine would continue under new shareholders. On 12 August Parcom Capital and Pon Holdings reached an agreement on the takeover of Imtech Marine and all its subsidiaries.

In November 2015 Imtech Marine announced its new company name RH Marine Group. Radio Holland kept its famous name, and did introduce a new logo and branding. Today Radio Holland is an independent operational company under the wings of the holding RH Marine Group.

Always there. Everywhere.