75 years Witteveen+Bos

Proud of our roots

'It all started with an A4 sheet of paper'

On 1 Januari 1946, Goossen Bos (1908-2004) and Willem Witteveen (1891-1979) officially founded 'Stedebouwkundig advies- en ingenieursbureau Witteveen en Bos c.i.' . From 1924 to 1945, Willem Witteveen had worked in Rotterdam at different times as Head of Urban Expansion and Buildings, City Architect, Director of Urban Development, Director of the Municipal Engineering Department and Director of the Rotterdam City Planning Advisory Office. After qualifying as a civil engineer at the Delft University of Technology, Mr. Bos spent four years working at the Amsterdam Public Works Department and six years at the municipality of Enschede. He produced a plan for Enschede’s sewer system, what - at the time - was the largest sewage treatment works in the Netherlands.

Coincidence and chemistry played a part in the first meeting between these two gentlemen. In late 1945, a mutual acquaintance advised Witteveen he should meet with Bos. Bos would later call it an incredible story: ‘Half a day after this advice there was a meeting between the famous urban planner and a completely unknown civil engineer 17 years his junior. After talking after lunch for less than an hour, the decision was taken to enter into a partnership to establish an engineering firm for urban development and public works’.

On an A4 sheet of paper they promised to ‘address any problems that may arise with honesty and in good faith’. The partnership contract survived until 1 January 1958 when Witteveen retired. Their successful association was built upon trust and reliability. And it still is.

'Helping to create a better world is nothing new for Witteveen+Bos. In the early days of the company, just after the Second World War, our main focus was the reconstruction of the Netherlands. In the 1960s and 1970s, our work was dominated by environmental pollution. The increase in car ownership and traffic congestion created further environmental issues to be tackled in the 1980s and 1990s. Then came the United Nations Millennium Goals, and more recently the Sustainable Development Goals. Everything involves the pursuit of sustainability, albeit with a slightly different focus. For Witteveen+Bos, the main thing is to remain willing and able to play our part in addressing current societal issues.’

- Karin Sluis, senior advisor

'Those who know their past are ready for the future!'

Now, more than 75 years later, Witteveen+Bos has grown a worldwide network of over 1,400 experts with different backgrounds and expertise’s working on more than 4,700 projects in 50 countries. It is our aim for the coming decades to continue being an engaged and interesting employer, contractor and project partner in solving future societal challenges.

Curious about the rest of our story? Check out the timeline for an overview of the development of Witteveen+Bos based on our milestones. For more information about Witteveen+Bos, please contact our communications department or view our digital 75 years Witteveen+Bos jubilee book.