At your service
De Valk is one of the longest-serving yacht brokerage companies in the world and has always prided itself on being among the most innovative. From opening Holland’s first brokerage marina and first covered sales marina to pioneering the use of automation and the internet, everything we’ve done over the past seven decades has been designed to optimise the buyer and seller experience.
According to the archives, De Valk was active in the watersport industry in the Dutch lakeside town of Loosdrecht at least as far back as 1947. It seems to have initially been a marina and boat charter business, although no one knows where the name De Valk (Dutch for The Falcon) came from. If you do we’d love to hear from you!
The De Valk marina and charter business is bought from his father-in-law by Willem van Baalen, a naval officer who had decided the time was right for a career change. Willem started out with just five people, a figure that would gradually increase over the years as his team showed an eye for genuine customer-friendliness.
Innovation time! De Valk Loosdrecht becomes a yacht brokerage company and the first in Holland to have its own sales marina, showcasing boats in a single location for review. This smart concept quickly attracted more potential buyers, swiftly followed of course by more potential sellers.
A decade of growth
Our brokerage activities were continuously developed throughout the 1970s. De Valk recognised the importance of being involved in the major boat shows and our international profile grew rapidly. The service portfolio was expanded in line with client requirements, with tailor-made options becoming available in different areas.
A good example of this growth strategy in action is the opening of the De Valk Hindeloopen office in the north of the Netherlands. Then, as now, the office is located in one of the most beautiful places on the IJsselmeer lake and one of the largest marinas in northern Europe.
De Valk entered the new decade as true pioneers in the yacht brokerage world by introducing computer systems in its operations. All offices were interconnected to provide maximum support to clients as well as the latest information. While we all take the computer world for granted today, De Valk went out on a limb with this early move into digital technology. It paid off handsomely and the feat would later be repeated with our early internet presence.
A new company called Holland Custom Built Yachts joins the De Valk group, focused on new builds. Renamed De Valk Amsterdam in 2010, this office can now leverage on decades of experience and a large international network to anticipate the supply and demand of large boats and superyachts.
The De Valk network grows further with the opening of our branch in the Dutch province of Zeeland. For the first 25 years De Valk Zeeland is located in Bruinisse.
De Valk launches its Yacht Magazine publication, which quickly gains a circulation of 35,000 and is sold in shops as well as being distributed to (potential) clients.
De Valk clients in the south of France are given the red carpet treatment at a De Valk branch in Cannes, which later moves along the coast to the harbour at Antibes where it still resides today.
A dedicated new De Valk office is also opened in Palma, Spain. Now one of the longest standing yacht brokerages in Mallorca, De Valk Palma has an impressive track record of sales by a multilingual personnel in its excellent location opposite Club de Mar.
With business brisk in our home country, another new De Valk office opens in Monnickendam on the Marina De Zeilhoek.
As a new millennium approaches, the De Valk techies continue their work at the forefront of ICT. This includes launching our very own online global database, which would later be upgraded with a Virtual Tour facility and much else besides. www.devalk.nl becomes one of the leading yacht brokerage portals.
The De Valk Sneek branch is opened in the northern province of Friesland and features Holland’s first covered sales marina, with a vertical clearance of seven metres, berths for 50 yachts and another 30 berths outside. The office is on the canal connecting Sneek and the Sneekermeer Lake and today specialises in the sale of motoryachts.
Having long provided many support services to our clients, including advice on yacht management, in 1999 De Valk opened a new company dedicated to this aspect of boating called Falcon Rydell.
The success of De Valk’s Yacht Magazine is followed up with a supplementary publication called Exclusive Yacht, aimed at the 18-metre-and-over market.
In this year we opened our second covered sales marina facility in Loosdrecht. Spanning some 55 x 100 metres, it was the largest construction of its kind owned by any brokerage house in Europe.
With business booming, more and more clients were seeking our support with the various financial areas involved in buying and selling yachts. To optimise our services, we established the dedicated De Valk Finance & Insurance division.
In 2004 Mattijs van Baalen takes over the helm of De Valk from his father as managing director. His approach to the future was clear: to ensure that De Valk becomes the first port of call for professional yacht-related services both in Holland and abroad.
To reinforce this ambitious approach, Mattijs sets up a new De Valk charter division at the De Valk Antibes office. The growing charter market is an ideal area in which De Valk can showcase its personal brand of customer service and professionalism.
A new company joins the De Valk network in the Netherlands: Mazer Yachting is the official importer and dealer of for the Fjord and Trader brands in the Benelux and Germany.
After enjoying a successful first quarter of a century in Bruinisse, De Valk Zeeland moves to a great new location in Sint Annaland. This significantly increases the capacity to display larger sizes of yacht both indoors and on the hard thanks to its 80-tonne crane.
A landmark moment in De Valk’s marketing approach as we decide to focus on internet and direct marketing rather than print. Our Online Marketing Intelligence Program puts De Valk streets ahead when it comes to collecting market information & market research, gaining insight into demand & supply, understanding the target group, and making optimal use of the internet, Google AdWords and SEO marketing. The data is used to attract as many possible potential buyers to our website and your yacht.
Despite our success online, De Valk knows that yacht brokerage also remains a face-to-face business. All facilities are continuously upgraded as and when necessary in response to changing demands in the market. The work at De Valk Hindeloopen in 2011 is a good example as it significantly increased the capacity for larger yachts on the hard.
The forward-thinking (and some would say courageous) decision made in 2009 to focus our marketing efforts online are bearing fruit in a significant way by 2015. A period of continuous investments ensures that De Valk becomes one of the largest if not the largest yacht brokerage platform. Moreover, our website attracts an impressive 1.5 million visitors.
The De Valk Antibes office is extensively refurbished as part of a new collaboration with Hawk Yachts.
Having successfully navigated the turbulent waters of the global recession and its major impact on the yachting business, this is the year that De Valk returns to growing its network. Three new offices open their doors: in Lagos, Portugal, the Costa Blanca and Barcelona.
Today and tomorrow
De Valk is now clearly positioned as a leading European brokerage house with a strong regional presence in the main sailing areas. As the market continues to become ever more international – 65% of buyers have a different nationality to the seller – De Valk will leverage on its excellent knowledge of the different processes involved in yacht ownership in each country. This, in turn, will secure the high-quality service enjoyed by clients over the first 70 years for the next generation.