In 1939 Martien and Rie van der Valk opened a restaurant in Voorschoten. The restaurant was a great success, partly due to hard work and a welcoming, homely approach. Martien wanted his children to be set for the future. So he had an idea, which was the beginning of the chain Van der Valk Restaurants. Every child would get their own business. The Van der Valk empire expanded further with the purchase of hospitality facilities for every child. It became a household name in the Netherlands, because both business travelers and day visitors could enjoy generous portions of the Dutch cuisine in many convenient locations. In the years after the Second World War they built a number of restaurants with their 11 children.
After 1958 son Gerrit, who had traveled in America and had spent the nights in Motels, had a new plan. Sleeping arrangements along the highway. While there were more motels in the city, Van der Valk could offer everything in a beautiful rural setting. On September 27, 1968 Motel Nuland was opened, the first major Motel in the Netherlands. Furthermore, it was also the first motel that was personally designed and built by the family. The motel was built in the typical Van der Valk style, recognizable by the large gabled roofs and large windows. Not only motorists found the motels to be convenient, so they slowly formed into hotels.
The company has, through the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, developed into the largest hospitality company in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Martien Heinrichs, Gerrit's grandson, manages the Van der Valk Hotel Nuland. To respond to the wishes and needs of guests, the hotel was gradually renovated by Martien. The restaurant is named after Gerrit and the Gerrit-orange tulip is reflected in the interior. This tulip was specially bred for Gerrit in 1995.
In addition to Van der Valk Hotel Nuland there are 62 other Valk establishments in the Netherlands and another 31 hotels in countries around the world. The vision of hospitality of Martien and Rie forms even today the basis of the successful "Van der Valk formula". Their attitude and entrepreneurial spirit are an example for younger generations of "Valken".