148 years sailing the seven seas

Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S is one of the oldest shipping companies in the world engaged in tramp operation. The company was founded by Mr Mads Christian Holm on 11 February 1871. He was manager of the company until his death in 1892. See list of Mangement and Chairmen since 1871.

NORDEN's very first ship was the good steamship "NORDEN"  which was built in Glasgow in February 1872.

From the very beginning, NORDEN has been prepared to meet the demands of clients; offering flexible, reliable and safe transport all over the world. During the last couple of decades, NORDEN has undergone a transition from an internationally oriented Danish shipping company to a global shipping company, headquartered in Denmark. The number of ships and employees has grown rapidly and so have the ship segments and services.

 Historical Highlights 



Today NORDEN has 344 employees at its offices and about 642 employed on the company's owned vessels, offices in eight countries, owns and operates total 218 dry cargo- (including single trip chartered vessels and Interorient Shipmanagement vessels) and 60 tanker vessels (excluding single trip chartered vessels) and has 6 vessels on order. 

In 2008 NORDEN inaugurated its headquarters in ‘Bryghuset’ in Hellerup enabling the company to offer modern facilities to employees and visiting customers.

The Founder

Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S was founded by Mr Mads Christian Holm on 11 February 1871. He was manager of the company until his death in 1892.

The portrait painted in 1891 shows a very charismatic man combining "great physical strength with considerable intelligence". In his home town of Nykøbing Mors as well as in Elsinore where he founded the Elsinore Shipyard he is still commemorated for his initiative and charity.

The public appreciated Mr Holm among other things for his contribution to Danish shipping and industry, and an obituary reads:

".... It is seldom that a Danish man without fortune is able to fight his way from humble circumstances to a leading position. Mr Holm became a great figure in the industry of Denmark, without ever using any other means than complete integrity. For such a life of merit, accomplished unostentatiously, but leaving good and deep impressions behind for posterity, we should lower our sword ......."


Mr Holm was born in 1827 in a small provincial town in Denmark, where he began his glorious career as a ship carpenter apprentice.

His adventurous spirit brought him to sea in 1850 as a ship carpenter. He went ashore in the USA in 1852 and founded a shipyard in Oakland, CA. in 1854, which he left in the trust of his partner to return to Europe one year later.

In January 1871 Mr Holm invited interested parties to participate in a share subscription for an ironbuilt screw steamer for tramp service, with a load capacity of 1,000 tons deadweight. At that time the Danish merchant fleet consisted of only 80 steamers, although there were numerous sailing vessels.

The share issue was a success and the first clause of the company's articles stated that its name would be the same as that of the vessel. The good ship "NORDEN" was built in Glasgow in February 1872.

The steamship company Dampskibsselskabet "NORDEN" was now a reality.


The previous domicile

Around 100 years after the Danish royal family moved from Christiansborg Palace to the new royal residence of Amalienborg, Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S acquired a new domicile only a few hundred metres from the royal palace, at No 49, Amaliegade. This was in 1892, the year in which Mr Peter de Nully Brown succeeded Mr Mads Christian Holm as shipowner.

At that time, as it still is today, Amaliegade was a very distinguished address. When the royal family moved into the fine Amalienborg palace in 1794, the last few Amaliegade sites had been offered for building, including No 49, the offices of Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S. The task was entrusted to Master Carpenter Andreas Hallander (a pupil of the famous architect C.V. Harsdorff), and the building was completed in 1790 in the contemporary popular classical style.

From 1892 the building was occupied by Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S, first as tenants, but from 1916 as the owners of the property and Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S offices were located at No 49, Amaliegade untill 8 June 2008.

 Read more - present head office in Hellerup