The world leading paint company we now know as AkzoNobel rose from humble beginnings – but what hasn’t changed is our dedication to proud craftsmanship. Making the finest paints and coatings has always been part of who we are as a company. In fact, our history can be traced all the way back to April 16, 1755, when Wiert Willemszoon Sikkens was born in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Although we know how our Sikkens brand grew in size and influence over time, much of its founder’s life continues to be a mystery. We have few surviving records dating back that far. But what we do know is his legacy continues to inspire our business to this day.
Wiert became a talented painter and glazier who was keenly aware of his customers’ needs. He married Roelfje van der Vlagh in 1782 and together they had eight children, two of whom would eventually follow in their father’s paint-making footsteps. In 1792, Wiert opened a small paint and varnish business called Sikkens Lakfarbrieken . Located in a gatehouse in Groningen’s city wall, the remains of that first factory actually still survive today. Rediscovered in a public park, they have been restored and serve an entirely new purpose as a shelter for bats.
After spending his life building a successful local business, Wiert passed it down to his son, Geert Willem. In 1837, Geert entered into a partnership that traded under the name G.W. Sikkens & Co., already well known for its quality and craftsmanship. This continued to be true long after the business was no longer run by the Sikkens family, a reputation that enabled this “start-up” to grow and expand internationally. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, AkzoNobel is getting back to our roots in paints and coatings. We’re proud of what we do to color and protect the things that are important to people, just like our founding father was. His story shows that our focus on quality, performance and our customers will always endure the test of time.