Phs. van Ommeren
In 1839, shipping agent Stoomvaart Maatschappij 'De Maas' (steam ship company 'De Maas') was established in Rotterdam by Philippus van Ommeren. The agency bought its first sailing ship in 1855. In 1869, the Suez canal opened, the beginning of the end for sailing vessels. Van Ommeren sold all his ships and concentrated on stevedoring, storage and distribution. The company was turned around by the friendship between Van Ommeren and Henri Deterding. Deterding was irritated by the monopoly position of Standard Oil in Germany. He established a base in Rotterdam and charged Van Ommeren with transport of petrol between Rotterdam and Germany. In 1903, Van Ommeren bought its first river transport ship. In 1907, a merger founded Royal Dutch Shell with Deterding as co-president. Van Ommeren correctly foresaw a shortage of petrol storage capacity, adding another successful branch to the company.
Philippus was succeeded by his son in law Hermanus de Jongh, and his grandson Philippus. They turned the firm into a limited liability company with the name NV Phs. van Ommeren's Scheepvaartbedrijf (shipping company) in 1922. When Antwerp was taken in September 1944, Berlin ordered a large scale destruction of port facilities in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Van Ommeren survived relatively well: its Amsterdam director ordered the tanks filled with drinking water and convinced the German army authorities that they would be without water if they destroyed the tanks. Practically all Rotterdam installations were heavily damaged or destroyed, though.
The tokens were struck in 1964 and 1968. The 1964 and 1968 tokens cannot be distinguished from each other. After the second world war, the mainstay of the Van Ommeren fleet were oilers and tramp freighters; they had limited passenger accommodation. As trampers were replaced by bulk carriers, they no longer carried passengers. The tokens were intended for the crews, who could buy their drinks from the ships vending machines with them. Apparently, the captain was allowed to curtail the rations of heavy drinkers. This usage explains why the Van Ommeren tokens were issued in more limited numbers, making them harder to find.
In 1974, the last Van Ommeren left the company. To counter the trend away from seaborne shipping, Van Ommeren tried an investment in trading company Ceteco in 1987. Amusingly, the joint venture was known as VOC - Van Ommeren Ceteco, the same initials as the historic an storied Dutch East India Company, Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie. The merger lasted only until 1992. In 1999, Van Ommeren and Pakhoed merged and became Vopak, a Dutch bulk storage company.
Phs. van Ommeren NV Rotterdam tokens
- Struck by the Utrecht mint.