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Famous Dutch brands of yesteryear

Those who enjoyed driving around in their trusty DAF were routinely ridiculed in the Netherlands, because this typically Dutch car was considered the height of dowdiness. Yet many Dutch were (and still are) proud of their beloved DAF, along with countless other iconic Dutch brands from yesteryear that have long since disappeared from Dutch streets.

DAF Dutch car


DAF is an abbreviation of “Van Doorne’s Automobile Factory NV”, a car and truck factory founded by Hub van Doorne in 1932. The factory initially focused on the manufacture of trucks, but in 1958 it rolled out its first car with a two-cylinder four-stroke engine and “vario matic” transmission, a forerunner of the automatic car. The DAF was famously easy to drive, meaning that the car was predominantly sold to women and the elderly, and the “Dafje” subsequently suffered from a poor image. In 1975, DAF sold its passenger car arm to the Swedish company Volvo. The DAF Truck branch still exists and has been under the proud ownership of U.S. company, Paccar, since 1996.


Fokker was founded in 1919 by Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer, Anthony Fokker, and was initially called ‘de Nederlandsche Vliegtuigenfabriek’ (the Dutch Aircraft Factory). The factory concentrated on building both military aircraft and commercial airliners and from the 1920’s onwards evolved into the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, with offices in Amsterdam-Noord, Veere and the United States. The Fokker F-27 ‘Friendship’, the flagship Fokker plane, was built from 1958 to 1986 and was the most popular Western European turbo propeller of its time. In 1996 Fokker sadly went bankrupt due to lack of financial resources.


Renowned Dutch company, Philips, started out as a humble light bulb factory that added an increasing number of electrical products to its extensive range over the years. These included modern appliances and household gadgets, such as televisions and the popular Senseo coffee maker. Yet, although Philips products can still be found in many Dutch households, this traditional Dutch brand is not quite as Dutch as it once was. In fact, early in 2013, Philips announced that it had sold its Lifestyle Entertainment Group, consisting of an Audio, Video and Multimedia Accessories arm, to the Japanese company, Funai Electric Co. The Japanese work under license, which means that the Philip brand remains, but Philips itself focuses exclusively on professional business goods such as hospital equipment.

Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?

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