Future maker Van der Zanden

18 November 2022

We speak to Tijs van der Zanden. He and his brother Mart are the current owners of Aannemingsbedrijf Van der Zanden , which dates back to 1947. However, the way of thinking is not old-fashioned. There is a lot of investment in sustainability. For example, the Doosan DX300LC Electric is on order.


Grandpa Jan van der Zanden started a contracting company in 1947 and decades later one of his sons Henk founded a contracting company. In the 1990s, the contracting business was divested and replaced by an environmental branch. Grandsons Tijs and Mart are now at the helm (but Henk can still be found regularly in the company) and the main activities consist of (semi) governments, asbestos remediation, demolition work, soil remediation, ground, road and hydraulic engineering and nature development. With forty employees, they are active in a radius of about eighty kilometers around Moergestel. Clients include provinces, municipalities, defence, project developers and private individuals.

Sustainability as a challenge

At Van der Zanden, sustainability is a great challenge. There are 2400 solar panels on the roof of their warehouse and they have also purchased two 32 Megawatt loading containers for their future Doosan DX300LC Electric . Tijs: ''When you see what everything costs, you think for a moment: 'what are we doing?' But if we start running the electric machine later, it has to work. We don't want to wonder at twelve o'clock how we can make the day full. It has to run for nine hours and Staad had the right machine for us. In collaboration with seven other fellow entrepreneurs, we participate in the Bouwplaats van Morgen, so that we can share knowledge with the industry and contribute to making our sector more sustainable."

Convenience of diesel machine

''With a 32 Megawatt loading container we can keep the DX300LC Electric running for a long time. We want to ensure that it comes as close as possible to a diesel machine in terms of convenience for the operator. We are also working on electric mini-excavators, shovels, Wacker rammers, vibrating plates and other hand tools.'' The aim is to be able to offer the complete package emission-free. ''The problem with that is that some tools have a battery capacity of about thirty minutes, so that doesn't actually work very well. How far Doosan is, that's how far the rest is actually behind."

'Family businesses lead the way'

''You notice that family businesses are generally much further ahead than the rest. There's more drive in that, or something'', says Tijs. That immediately explains the click with the dealer. ''If we have a problem with a machine and we call Staad, the machine is simply repaired quickly or something else is arranged. Other major dealers say, "It's your turn in three days." That doesn't work.'' Van der Zanden is also known by his customers. "We're not going to argue, we're going to solve it."

Economical on machines

Van der Zanden's machine park contains several Doosan machines, including the first DX140W-7 wheeled excavator in Europe, they also have two DX140W-5 , two DX170W-5, a DX255LC-5 , DX300LC-5 and now the DX300LC Electric. . Seven years ago they started updating the equipment twice a year by a repairer, to make any damage neat again. However, it has not been necessary this year, so economically it is used. “I like that,” said Tijs. According to him, the staff is involved and is central. ''I think that's also super important, we can't do it alone! It is also rare that someone leaves us and that makes me proud."

Giving youth a picture of the industry

For Van der Zanden, the goal is not to get bigger: ''We can just handle it all now. My brother and I try to get to every project every day to see how things are going. If it gets even bigger, it will be impossible to keep up.'' However, there is a focus on recruiting youth. For example, they gave a day of teaching green technology to students of the Pius X-College in Bladel. We will be organizing these types of teaching days more often. ''We try to get the students to experience all kinds of projects, so that they get a feel for the industry.'' They naturally hope that this will encourage more young people to opt for this sector. "It doesn't matter if they come to work with us or somewhere else, it's just important that people keep coming."

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