We are proud to announce Kommer Damen’s receipt of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dutch Maritime Awards Gala in Rotterdam on 7 November. This prestigious award is a recognition of Kommer Damen’s years of service to the maritime industry.
Kommer Damen – A man with a vision
Kommer Damen’s father and uncle started building boats in a shed next to the family home in the Dutch town of Hardinxveld-Giessendam and established Damen Shipyards in 1927. In 1969 Kommer (78) bought the shipyard from his family members. He had a vision: his idea was to produce vessels in series for stock. In this way, vessel operators would have rapid access to proven technology.
This philosophy revolutionised shipbuilding. Building on its success, Damen Shipyards Group went global. Today, the group operates 35 newbuild and repair yards, as well as numerous maritime equipment suppliers, and employs 12,000 people all around the world.
In 1991, the Damen Shipyards Group acquired entered the world of yacht building with the acquisition of Amels. Here, Kommer Damen’s vision was once again applied, with custom yachts being built on proven platforms. It was this approach that led to Amels’ Limited Editions becoming one of the superyacht industry’s greatest success stories.
Today, Kommer Damen maintains an active role in the family business, serving as group chairman. He is also a keen sailor, husband, father and grandfather. His son, Arnout Damen, is CEO of Damen Shipyards Group. Daughter Annelies sits on the company’s board as a non-executive, while son Bear combines his career as a film director with being an active shareholder. Daughter Rose heads up Damen Yachting. The Damen Shipyards Group remains 100% family-owned.
This latest award adds to others gained over a lifetime of committed service to the maritime industry, including the Seawork Lifetime Achievement Award and the royal Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Rose Damen: “I am amazingly proud of my father to receive this special and well-deserved award. My father has been the visionary for this business and is still very involved. Behind the scenes, he is in Monaco every season, he likes to talk with clients. As a family, we also enjoy life on the water when we get the chance. As a family-owned yacht builder, we don’t see delivery as the end of a project. We see it as the beginning of a long-term relationship between two families. My father has always put clients first and that goes throughout the organisation. My father is a ‘people person’ – a defining trait I was happy to inherit, and a key aspect of the yachting market where everything revolves around relationships. It is so important for clients to know they are dealing with key family members, and they pick up such signals very quickly. My father has taught us that trust and stability are at the core of Damen’s principles. He is incredibly proud to have such loyal and dedicated employees. They form the heart of the company and we really see them as our extended family. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work in our family business and for the values my father set out, I cannot think of a more solid base for even greater success in the future.”