History Nelf Lakfabrieken

We like to tell you more about our background. Not only because we are proud of it, but also because the development of our company shows that a desire for innovation and customer focus have always played an important role.



The beginning – Groningen


''A modern, highly hygienically equipped paint factory'.


This is how the Nederlandsche Elektrische Lakfabriek (NELF) presents itself to potential customers at its foundation in 1916. Nelf is one of the first paint manufacturers in our country who used electricity to produce paint. This is why this, at the time unique, production method is reflected in the name.


From the outset, the manufacturer in Groningen focuses on the professional market, we quote again:


'paints and varnishes which the buyer does not have to worry about'.


With the very first products carriages, shops, houses, business premises and factories are provided with a protective coating. According to legend, the Nelf products even then competed with 'the best that existed in its field.



The development

Throughout the decades Nelf serves the professional market through - and often together with - the wholesale trade and the professional painter. Providing a good and competitive product, combined with sound advice and support, is and remains the strength of the company that is steadily becoming the number four paint manufacturer in the Netherlands. Large enough to be able to manage major projects and to have its own R&D department. Small enough to respond flexibly to market developments and customer demands. The following text from the faded brochure from the 60's might therefore have been of a more recent date:


To our customers. Many years of experience in the field of paint production has enabled us to create our own system, which allows us to produce large quantities within a very short time. The modern equipment of our factory contributes to this, it has the latest and best machines for which we have spared no effort or expense. Thanks to the use of the best raw materials, this allows us to supply a product which undoubtedly will satisfy the highest requirements at very competitive prices. We remain yours faithfully


N.E.L.F. Nederlandsche Elektrische Lak Fabriek



The growth

Luchtfoto fabriek GroningenNelf has grown steadily over the years. Not only in terms of production and sales, but also physically. The factory in Groningen has been extended and modernized several times. After the acquisition of successively Kiewit de Jonge (1976) and Feenstra Verf en Lakfabrieken (1980) the market share steadily increases.


With the acquisition of P.K. Koopmans in 2001, Nelf also establishes a solid base in the private market. Following this acquisition, Nelf moves its production to the ultra-modern factory of P.K. Koopmans in Marum, Friesland, which was opened in 1997 and which was designed for future growth. In 2004 follows the last acquisition for the time being of Drenth Verf in Winschoten. Meanwhile, more and more is produced for third parties, under private label, and the manufacturer launches with Nelf Marine Paints a special product line for the marine and industrial sectors.


The ambition

In 2006 Paul Dokter takes over the Nelf factory in Marrum. The new owner is ambitious and invests from the outset in product innovation, market segmentation and export.


New product lines for different markets and modern packaging see the light of day, while Nelf further increases its advice and service level. At the same time, production is designed in such a way that the manufacturer can quickly switch between products and can also produce smaller quantities competitively and to customer specifications.


In the meantime Nelf is successful in markets abroad. Particularly in Eastern Europe and China, where Dutch products are associated with quality. An image that Nelf naturally embraces and with 'Nelf Meesterlakken' Nelf lives up to this reputation. In the past, today and if it is up to Nelf, also for the next hundred years.

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