Van der Valk (company)
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2011)|
|Founder(s)||Martien van der Valk|
|Key people||Gerrit van der Valk † (former CEO)|
Van der Valk is the largest hospitality chain in the Netherlands, with 59 branches in the Netherlands and 30 hotels in other countries (including 13 in Germany, one in Florida and several on the Dutch Caribbean islands), and is run by the Van der Valk family. They operate the Avifauna Bird Park in Alphen aan den Rijn which at its inception in 1950 was the first dedicated bird park in the world. Their logo is based on the toucan.
The chain was founded by Martien and Rie van der Valk in 1939 when they opened their first hotel/restaurant. After World War II the Van der Valks and their 11 children expanded the chain with a number of hotels and restaurants. The expansion was continued by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 1982 Toos van der Valk, the wife of company head Gerrit van der Valk was kidnapped by Italian criminals and held captive for 21 days. After a ransom of 13 million guilders was paid she was released.
In 1994 Gerrit van der Valk was arrested for tax evasion after it was found out that some workers were paid in cash but he was not much later released. The case was eventually settled for 213 million guilders.
Gerrit van der Valk died in 2009.
The Van der Valk chain also received scrutiny from the authorities in the past because of bad labour conditions.
Since 2000 the chain is a franchise enterprise, but with the stipulation that every franchise holder must be a descendant of Martien van der Valk.
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