The company has its roots in Sliedrecht. A large part of the Port of Rotterdam was destroyed during WWII. The regeneration of the port required lots of work on the quaysides and banks. Jan Hendrik van den Herik worked on the project helping to build revetment walls. In 1945, he decided to set up his own business with the help of several colleagues. The company was officially registered on a day when Van den Herik had other things on his mind: 11 April 1946, the day his daughter Anneke was born.
The company's activities were expanded to include mattressing of various types and rockdumping. Special vessels had to be acquired for this purpose.
One of the foremost hydraulic engineering companies
In 1971, Jan Hendrik van den Herik had to leave the company on health grounds and his son and son-in-law took the company further. Van den Herik grew into one of the foremost hydraulic engineering companies. Most of the major rivers in the Netherlands were kept in working order by Van den Herik and the company added dredging to its portfolio of services. In 1991, the founder's son decided to leave the company and his brother-in-law, Arie Struijk, became the sole shareholder. Innovation was singularly important and the company was at the forefront of many developments, including geocontainers, hydraulic suction dredgers, filtration systems for contaminated dredge spoil and the use of water jets to move dredge spoil.
Take-over dredging firm Prins
Having taken over Prins, of Sliedrecht, the oldest dredging firm in the Netherlands, Van den Herik moved to premises on the Industrieweg in Sliedrecht. In order to widen the scope of the company and to keep working as a general contractor at a time when several disciplines were often combined in a single project, Van den Herik acquired Schouls of Leiden (civil engineering) and Jaartsveld of Varsseveld (road contractor). That gave Van den Herik a portfolio stretching across almost all civil engineering disciplines and meant that the company acquired a stake in asphalt plants. Van den Herik also became involved in the detection of explosives and acquired a stake in a medium-sized engineering consultancy.
The company was then further expanded due to the demands of internationalization and diversification. The company was no longer occupied with just 'hands-on' work; the growth in consultancy activities meant that a project could be followed from beginning to end within the group itself.