In 1939 Martien and Rie van der Valk together started a restaurant in Voorschoten. Martien wanted his children to be well looked after for the future. This is why he came up with an idea of what was the beginning of the Van der Valk Restaurants chain; each child would have its own business. With the purchase of catering establishments for each child, the Van der Valk empire expanded further. It became a household name in the Netherlands, because in many favorable locations both business travellers and day- trippers could enjoy the generous portions of Dutch cuisine.
After 1958, son Gerrit, who had travelled around the United States and spent the night in motels, came up with a new plan. Sleeping along the highway. By building motels outside the city, Van der Valk could offer everything in a beautiful, rural environment. Later on, the motels were not only suitable for motorists and slowly became hotels.
WHY A TOUCAN?
It is one of the most frequently asked questions to the Van der Valk family: why do you have a toucan on your roof and not a falcon?
The answer can be found in the purchase of bird park Avifauna. The family was looking for a symbol for the whole family. Just after the war, many people still had nasty memories of the birds of prey symbolism used by the Nazis. As Gerrit van der Valk said: “If a falcon sleeps, it’s nothing and if he goes on a hunt, it’s like an eagle. A toucan is a beautiful, large, tropical bird, a cheerful animal, a cozy animal, that fits us much better”.