Hoefnagels celebrates 140th anniversary

Hoefnagels Fire Safety is a Dutch family business with a history dating back 140 years to 1884. On February 27, we celebrated our 140th anniversary by hosting a party for all our employees. Directors Gijs and Rolf Hoefnagels are immensely proud of their company's heritage and what it has achieved.

A historic moment: a wall comes down

In February 1884, carpenters Christiaan Janssen and Josephus Wayers opened a carpentry workshop on the IJzerstraat in Tilburg, specialising in wooden rolling shutters and awnings. Later, Janus Hoefnagels opened a forge, ''Smederij Hoefnagels'', in the building next door and supplied steel components to the Janssen-Wayers workshop. Josephus Wayers had no successor to pass his business on to, so Smederij Hoefnagels took over Janssen-Wayers in 1946. The wall between the two adjoining premises was pulled down, and the companies were merged to become Hoefnagels & Janssen-Wayers. 


Over the last 50 years, we have continued to evolve, specialising in products such as steel sliding doors, awnings, aluminium façades, and sliding doors for luxury yachts. And as we have evolved, we have not been afraid to explore new markets or discontinue activities. Gijs Hoefnagels: "In 1985, the seed was planted for our current business and specialisation: fire protection barriers. A client requested a fire-resistant roller shutter, and we developed it ourselves, testing it at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research). The new product was then actually shelved for a while until demand exploded following the introduction of the first version of the Bouwbesluit (Dutch Building Decree) in 1992. Innovation is part of our DNA. In 2003, we were the first Dutch company to launch a fire-resistant roller screen made from technical textile. Today, our Research & Development team works tirelessly to develop new products and improve existing ones."

Advancements in structural fire safety

In 2024, the enormous importance of fire safety is reflected in the Besluit bouwwerken leefomgeving, (Dutch Environment Buildings Decree), the former Building Decree. About 20% of the new regulations concern fire safety and escape in buildings. European legislation has also identified fire and safety as priorities. Rolf Hoefnagels: "It's clear that knowledge on structural fire safety is limited throughout the entire construction sector. It's a complex subject, and translating knowledge into practice isn't always straightforward. Added to that, we're now facing additional challenges, such as the rise of electric vehicles – which contain potentially dangerous batteries – and the implications of the energy transition, such as the problems that could be caused by electric heat pumps and solar panels. Thanks to the knowledge we've built over many decades in structural fire safety, we can almost always find solutions for such issues by working closely with other organisations, such as the fire service, architects and construction companies."

Anniversary celebration

Gijs Hoefnagels: "Hoefnagels employees work hard – and with pleasure – to ensure the safety of people and buildings. That's something we appreciate enormously. To show our appreciation, we hosted a party on February 27 together with automation experts RDA, who were celebrating their 20th anniversary. Hoefnagels invested in RDA last year, so the party was enjoyed by about 100 people, all celebrating these milestones together."