Hans Niels Andersen
|Hans Niels Andersen|
10 September 1852|
|Died||30 December 1937(aged 85)|
|Occupation||Shipping magnate, businessman|
|Known for||Founder of the East Asiatic Company|
|Awards||Knight of the Elephant|
Born into a working-class family in Nakskov, he trained as a shipbuilder before hiring on as a ship's carpenter in 1872. He came to Bangkok for the first time in 1873 and advanced to first mate and later master of a ship owned by the king of Siam. Subsequently, he entered the freight business in East Asia and later Europe. In 1885 he started his own company, Andersen & Co., which encompassed import/export, shipping, logging and sawmills.
Returning to Copenhagen, he opened a branch office of his company and in 1897, together with Isak Glückstadt, director of the Danish Farmers' Bank, founded the East Asiatic Company. This eventually became the largest company in Denmark, diversifying into shipbuilding, marine propulsion, insurance, etc., with branch offices all over the world.
During World War I, in which Denmark remained neutral, he went on missions to several countries, attempting unsuccessfully to initiate peace negotiations, but more successfully to secure Danish interests.
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