The Embassy of Denmark celebrates 400 years of Denmark and Thailand relations by shining a light on Hans Niels Andersen who was not only a Danish shipping magnate, businessman, diplomat but also the founder of the East Asiatic Company.
The Embassy writes:
ON THIS DAY: 27 March 1897
On this day visionary plans for creating a new Danish shipping line between Denmark and Thailand became reality when H.N. Andersen founded The East Asiatic Company (Det Østasiatiske Kompagni).
The East Asiatic Company (EAC) occupies a unique position in the history of the developing relationship between Denmark and Thailand and through decades EAC was deeply involved in the commercial life of Thailand.
H.N. Andersen had a vision to, not only create an international shipping line and change Denmark’s trade position in the world but also to contribute to the infrastructure, trade, and production in Thailand. H. N. Andersen had previously immigrated and worked in Thailand’s navy in the position of Captain of Siamese commercial vessels.
From the outset, the ideas and business philosophy of EAC were those of a widely diversified conglomerate, engaged in shipping, industries, forestry plantations, and trading in a great variety of products. The company quickly expanded its activities and gradually became an important worldwide shipping and trading company.
In 1970, EAC was the company with the largest turnover in the Nordic countries, but as globalization took off, the EAC slowly lost its vigor and in 2014, the company was closed down.
Today the historic office building of EAC still stands on the Chao Phraya Riverside, right next to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and it is seen as one of Thailand’s architectural landmarks. It is registered as a national heritage site, demonstrating more than 100 years of Thai-Danish relationship in international trade.
In Denmark, the original EAC headquarters’ building has been preserved and is today called Asia House. Asia House is owned by the EAC Foundation, which works to support initiatives, activities, and projects that contribute to maintain, strengthen and develop commercial and cultural relations between Denmark and Asian countries, where the past commercial engagement of The East Asiatic Company has been prevalent.