On 1 July 2010 the legal merger between ABN AMRO Bank N.V. (ABN AMRO Bank) and Fortis Bank (Nederland) N.V. (Fortis Bank Nederland) was completed, creating a combined entity called ABN AMRO Bank N.V. Click on our History timeline to see where we have come from or read about our predecessors.
Rob Hazelhoff (ABN) and Roelof Nelissen (Amro) signed the ABN AMRO merger contract on 21 September 1991, creating the largest bank in the Netherlands, the sixth largest in Europe and the sixteenth in the world. The new bank remained the main sponsor of the Rotterdam World Tennis Tournament, continuing the tradition ABN had started in 1973. Architect Henry Cobb, known for the pyramid he designed for the Louvre, designed the head office at Gustav Mahlerlaan in Amsterdam, where ABN AMRO has been established since 1999.Read about the history (PDF 515 KB)
Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN)
The head office of ABN (at the time Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij) was formerly located at the current premises of the Amsterdam City Archives. Designed by Karel de Bazel and Dolf van Gendt, the building opened its doors in 1926. ABN significantly expanded its US operations with the acquisition of LaSalle National Bank. ABN acquired LaSalle under the leadership of André Batenburg, Chairman of the Managing Board from 1974 to 1985. Mr Batenburg was known as a stylish banker with an interest in culture.Read about the history (PDF 973 KB)
A key figure in the history of Amro Bank is Jan van den Brink. He played an important part in rebuilding the Netherlands after 1945 as the Minister of Economic Affairs. In 1952, he made the switch to banking and from 1952 to 1978 was on the Board of Amro. Amro Bank relocated from the city centre to its new head office in southeast Amsterdam in 1987. With the upcoming expected European integration, the bank decided that year to team up with Belgium’s Generale Bank, although the two never merged.Read about the history (PDF 1 MB)
The head office of Amsterdamsche Bank was designed in 1920 by various architects, including Hendrik Berlage. Frits van Nierop was the director of this bank for fifty years, until 1924. Amsterdamsche Bank acquired Incasso-Bank in 1948, vastly expanding its network in the Netherlands.Read about the history (PDF 23 KB)
Fortis Bank Nederland
Fortis was created in December 1990, when Hans Bartelds (AMEV/VSB 1990) and Maurice Lippens (Belgian insurer AG) signed a merger agreement. From 1995, the bank’s head office was located on Archimedeslaan in Utrecht, in a building designed by Van Mourik Architects. A year later Generale Bank Nederland, a predecessor of Fortis Bank Nederland, started sponsoring the Rotterdam Marathon.Read about the history (PDF 12 KB)
Hope & Co
In 1762, Henry Hope, a well-known art collector, established the bank Hope & Co. The office was located at Keizersgracht 579-581 in Amsterdam. As everyone knew that the bank resided at this address, a sign with the name of the company was considered unnecessary. In 1803 Hope & Co., with Barings & Co., funded a loan to the United States which was used to purchase Louisiana from France under Napoleon.Read about the history (PDF 5 MB)
Due to the political, social and economic chaos in China in the early part of the 20th century, there was no central authority whatsoever, let alone a central bank. Foreign banks stepped in and issued their own money in an attempt to fill this monetary void. One of these was Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij of William I, which opened an office in Shanghai in 1903. From 1909 to 1946, NHM produced Shanghai dollars in denominations of 5, 10, 50 and 100 dollars.Read about the history (PDF 1 MB)
Nederlandse Overzee Bank
Nederlandse Overzee Bank was established in 1954 by a merger between the Netherlands Bank of South Africa and the Amsterdam Commodities Bank (Amsterdamsche Goederenbank), both of which were established in 1888. The flag in the logo underscored the connection between the activities of these banks and the overseas trade in the time of the Dutch Republic.Read about the history (PDF 5 MB)
Pierson Heldring Pierson
Besides a banker, Jan Lodewijk Pierson was also an author and the founder of the Allard Pierson archaeological museum in Amsterdam, named after his father. The building at Rokin 55, close to the museum, was home to Pierson, Heldring & Pierson from 1989 and, later, the MeesPierson and Fortis offices. Pierson & Co. (Boissevain & Co. before 1917) provided loans to the US railways. As a sign of appreciation, a station on the Canadian Pacific Railway was named after Pierson.Read about the history (PDF 5 MB)
R. Mees & Zoonen
Marten Mees was a member of the firm R. Mees & Zoonen from 1859 to 1909 and was of paramount importance to this family business. The bank merged with Hope & Co. in 1966, and Nederlandsche Overzee Bank joined three years later. The new Bank Mees & Hope moved to Coolsingel 93 in Rotterdam in 1971.Read about the history (PDF 5 MB)
The head office of Rotterdamsche Bankvereeniging, later Rotterdamsche Bank, was housed at Coolsingel 119 in Rotterdam. William Westerman, CEO until 1924, was at the helm during the bank’s many acquisitions and played a key role in the banking concentration in the Netherlands. In response to the growing number of female clients, Rotterdam Bankvereeniging founded the Vrouwenbank (‘Women’s Bank’) in Amsterdam in 1928. This closed its doors in 1971.Read about the history (PDF 1 MB)
Slavenburgs Bank was founded in 1925 and was acquired by Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland in 1983. That year, NCB Bank launched the innovative Direktbank. With this forerunner of online banking, consumers conducted their banking business by telephone. CLBN also took over NCB Bank in 1987 and, five years later, began construction of the head office in Rotterdam, designed by architect Helmut Jahn. Princess Margriet opened the building in 1996 as the head office of Generale Bank Nederland, which CLBN had acquired the previous year.Read about the history (PDF 1 MB)
Willem Blijdestein was the driving force behind Twentsche Bank, which had its head office at Spuistraat in Amsterdam and originally conducted banking business for the textile industry in the Dutch province of Twente. Twentsche Bank was unique in its innovative banking products, such as the Personal Loan in 1958.Read about the history (PDF 1 MB)
In 1784, the Baptist minister Jan Nieuwenhuyzen established the Maatschappij tot Nut van ‘t Algemeen in Edam. The purpose of this association was to develop individuals and society, primarily through education. Local chapters of ‘t Nut founded the first non-profit savings banks in the Netherlands in 1817. Years later, in 1983, these united to become VSB.Read about the history (PDF 1 MB)
Access to the ABN AMRO archives
Once archiving has taken place, records are transferred to the appropriate public depository. The archives of the following predecessors have already been deposited elsewhere:
Firma Hope & Co. and Spaarbank voor de Stad Amsterdam at Stadsarchief Amsterdam;
Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, Nederlandsch-Indische Handelsbank, Amsterdamsche Bank and Rotterdamsche Bank at Nationaal Archief in The Hague;
Firma R. Mees & Zoonen at Stadsarchief Rotterdam;
Twentsche Bank at Historisch Centrum Overijssel in Zwolle.
These archives have been deposited on a permanent loan basis and are freely accessible, barring some restrictions for reasons of confidentiality. Archives of other smaller predecessors can be consulted at other public depositories.
The more recent archives are stored in the ABN AMRO Archives of the Art & History Department. Access to the archives, or parts thereof, can be granted for the purpose of historical research in consultation with the relevant department.