Thijs was born and grew up in Holland. At the age of 15, he broke his leg three times in a single year. At the same time a friend of Thijs broke his too, in a car accident.
While the two friends were spending time together recovering (and fishing a lot), Thijs’ friend introduced him to their transport business.
It’s during this time that Thijs developed a keen interest in the inner workings of motor vehicles.
In fact, so great was his interest in vehicles after this introduction, that Thijs chose motor mechanical work as his main focus when he entered a technical high school.
Thijs’ father worked for Mercedes Benz Netherlands all his life, and Thijs was given the opportunity to complete an internship with a Mercedes Benz dealer after school, an opportunity Thijs gladly accepted.
After a stint with Mercedes, Thijs moved to MAN trucks and completed another internship with the global trucking Goliath. Once he finished his exams, Thijs was offered a job at the company.
Because MAN expected Thijs to travel—should he accept a position with them—he dropped off his CV at the VW and Audi dealer in Bodegraven, his hometown.
The Bodegraven VW dealer contacted Thijs and offered him a job, which he accepted enthusiastically, since he’s an avid VW fan, especially of the company’s Golf GTI.
For ten years Thijs worked to his heart’s content at VW Bodegraven as technician. During this time a lovely blonde lady joined the admin staff of Bodegraven VW and Thijs was soon smitten.
Thijs, however, gradually grew frustrated at VW, since modern vehicles, because of their technological advancements, didn’t require much repair, only light maintenance.
In 2003, Thijs and Evelyn became the proud parents of a boy they named Wessel.
During this time the couple decided to take a chance on starting their own company, which would afford both of them the opportunity to be challenged in their work.
An opportunity arose in the form of a company, The Bike Hospital in Waddinxveen, who wanted Thijs to work as self-employed contractor on their premises.
But winters in Holland bite, and business got quiet. During these quiet times Thijs started helping out a friend whose business it was to make trailers.
As the friend’s business picked up, Thijs was approached by numerous individuals who required his services in steel- and stainless steel work. It wasn’t long before he focused only on stainless steel. Thijs was in his element, since he had the opportunity to create beautiful stainless products that people loved.
Thijs soon started taking on projects outside of Holland, maintaining and repairing stainless steel machines for chicken slaughter houses and potato processing plants. Before long he started manufacturing new machines.
In 2006, before Wessel was due to start his schooling career, Thijs and his family took a trip to Jeffreys Bay, where a friend of his had a holiday home.
They had a wonderful holiday, and Thijs used the opportunity to go shark fishing.
The famil fell in love with Jbay.
In 2007 they were back in Jeffreys for another holiday. The man who had originally taken Thijs shark fishing showed him the non-touristy places in and around Jeffreys Bay.
He also took Thijs to the Victory Christian School, which at the time was still being built.
While on site, Thijs asked one of the welders working on the school’s structure, about the type of welding rods they were using for their purposes.
He could not provide Thijs with an answer.
Thijs eyed the welding and realised that there was a major gap in the market for quality welding work.
That same year they started working on their papers to move to South Africa permanently.
A year later their second son, Ruben, was born.
It took three years for their paperwork to be finalised and in January 2010 they finally moved to their new home.
Thijs shipped all his machinery from Holland. Their container, which was supposed to arrive three weeks after them, took three months to clear customs! This put a bit of a damper on Thijs’ excitement to get going with his stainless and aluminium venture, but it certainly didn’t extinguish the flame!
As with any new place, it was difficult to convince people to make use of Thijs’ services.
Finally a boat builder in St Francis gave him a chance to prove his mettle. He commissioned Thijs to build him a stainless steel landing platform, rocket launcher, hand railing and other items for a big game fishing boat.
Thijs’ work was so impressive that the owner of the boat company invited other boat builders to take a look at his work.
Slowly but surely, with their eyes set on quality product and service, business started picking up for the owners of Holland Metal Products.
Today HMP offers their services to the marine industry, building contractors, other businesses and even for domestic use. If it’s stainless or aluminium, they do it.