H. van Wijnen - Since 1864

Where it all began

Since before the dawn of recorded history, people in all cultures the world over have relied on the salting and smoke-curing of fish and meat products for long-term storage.

Our ancestors needed a way of preserving their food. Meat and fish were highly perishable and would only last a couple of days. Populations living near the coasts were fortunate or ingenious enough to discover that they could produce salt from making sea water evaporate and that the salt they could collect could be used not only to enrich their food but to preserve it as well. From here on people started to pack fish and meat in salt and to dry it or keep it in a brine solution thus preserving it and keeping it safe for consumption and edible for weeks and months.

The salting method became man’s first means of preservation of food, The earliest known records of this can be found in the annals of the Roman statesman  Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder around 200 BC, more than 2000 years ago.Various heavily smoked and salted foods were relied upon to carry people over the lean times of late winter and into spring.
Over the centuries, salt-cured fish became more than a way of preserving food and even assumed mystical qualities in the Middle Ages in these days of strong spiritual and superstitious beliefs cured fish was believed by many to be an aphrodisiac.
Today smoking and salting although still fundamental for preservation are done also to enhance texture and flavor.

As you undoubtedly know the Netherlands or Low Lands as they are called are full of rivers and these rivers used to be crammed full of Atlantic salmon.

Around the year 1700 when the Dutch rivers were still teaming with salmon the family Van Wijnen started their humble activity with 3 small fishing boats. Fishing, trading and occasionally smoking the salmon caught initiating what would later become one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious  smokehouses.

Apparently they did their work more than well as in 1740 they were awarded the sole fishing rights for the rivers Lek & IJssel, these fishing rights awarded by the Duke van Nassau Le Lec.

A little over a hundred and fifty years later the young Hendrik van Wijnen came along and ambitiously planned to open a smokehouse, renting out the fishing rights to 3rd parties and taking a complete plunge in the dark for those times. This smokehouse became the pride of Kralingseveer and the basis for the modern day Smokehouse H. van Wijnen.

Since Hendrik’s day almost 150 years ago, we have now reached  the 5th generation descendent, who is currently leading the ultramodern, internationally operating company  H. van Wijnen has become.

One thing has never changed  through all these years from Hendrik’s time to ours : H. van Wijnen’s Taste & Tradition. We are proud to be a small part  in such an illustrious history and are quite sure that the modern day facility and H. van Wijnen products sold in 4 continents far surpass any dream Hendrik once had.