Frigo Group founder Hein van Elderen passed away

More than four months after his wife Ank, Frigo Group founder Hein van Elderen passed away at the end of last year.

Ruim vier maanden na zijn vrouw Ank, is eind vorig jaar Frigo Group-oprichter Hein van Elderen overleden

Van Elderen laid the foundation for the Frigo Group in 1973 by building a cold store on IJweg in Nieuw-Vennep with his own hands. One of the things he wanted to store there was the celeriac he grew as a farmer, along with crops such as beetroot, potatoes and wheat. As products from other farms were soon being stored for long periods at temperatures of over -20 °C, the cold store had to be substantially expanded as early as 1975. It was the first expansion of the enterprising Van Elderen, who later also built or took over cold stores in Rotterdam, Roermond, ‘s-Heerenberg, Lommel (Belgium) and Montigny-le-Roi (France), among others. Because the coarse horticulture could no longer be combined with the many activities in the well-run cold stores, he put an end to arable farming in 1983 with pain in his heart (“In fact, I have always remained a farmer”).

True family business

Partly thanks to Hein and Ank van Elderen, the Frigo Group always remained a real family business, including all the good qualities that go with it. The cold store in ‘s-Heerenberg’ was taken over by their daughter Wil van Elderen and her husband Henk van Veen in 1999. In the same year, their daughter Margreet van Elderen took over the cold store in Nieuw-Vennep, which at that time already had a capacity of 120,000 m³.
Including the start of Frigo Group Logistics (2007) and Frigo Group Transport (2015), the Van Elderen couple closely followed the growth of the Frigo Group in the years that followed. Until their deaths, they would also continue to live next door to the company. Ank van Elderen died on 21 June 2022 at the age of 81. Hein van Elderen outlived his wife by more than four months: he died on 28 October 2022 at the age of 88. Both within the company and the family, the farewell was accompanied by sadness, but also by gratitude for everything Hein and Ank van Elderen have meant to their children and grandchildren, employees and the Frigo Group.

50th anniversary

In view of the 50th anniversary of the Frigo Group later this year, Margreet van Elderen is continuing the company in the spirit of her father. In that context, she points to some of his famous sayings, which can also be found in the ‘history of the Frigo Group’ elsewhere on this site. “You should not want to keep everything for yourself but give others some too. Then they will also help you if necessary.” On employees: “You have to treat them the way you want to be treated yourself.” And about entrepreneurs: “A good boss does not sit somewhere at the top, in an ivory tower, but knows exactly what is happening at his company ánd has an eye for his people.”

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