We are Wolters Kluwer
Wolters Kluwer is a global provider of professional information, software solutions, and services for the healthcare; tax and accounting; governance, risk and compliance; and legal and regulatory sectors. Wolters Kluwer has served professionals for many decades, helping them enhance workflows and make informed decisions. Our expert solutions – a combination of deep domain knowledge with advanced technology and services – deliver better outcomes, analytics, and improved productivity and solve complex problems for our customers. We’re recognized and valued for helping customers realize their potential and deliver impact when it matters most.
During the 19th Century, constitutional and legal reforms were shaping the loose collection of Dutch provinces into a modern industrial economy. The demand for educational and informational literature led to the rise of numerous family run publishing houses. Wolters Kluwer’s roots can be traced directly to four entrepreneurial houses: Wolters, Noordhoff, Samsom, and Kluwer.
Early entrepreneurs: Wolters, Noordhoff, Samsom, and Kluwer
In 1836, Jan Berends Wolters founded his bookstore-publishing house in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. Later to be called the J.B. Wolters Publishing company, the company met with unparalleled success in educational publishing due to his focus on high quality content that would shape the rapidly evolving sphere of education. Generations of Dutch children, for example, learned their ABCs with ‘Aap-Noot-Mies’. And the children’s stories of ‘Ot en Sien’ published in 1902 remained a ubiquitous teaching tool in elementary schools for half a century.
In 1858, a 25 year old Popko Noordhoff opened a book store next door to the 50 year old Wolters. Initially stocking education, science and religious books, he soon switched to publishing and would see great success with titles such as Heukels’ ‘Flora in the Netherlands’, which, remarkably, sees its 23rd edition in 2016, and is available now as an app. Building from a national base, Noordhoff would go on to achieve international acclaim in scientific publishing.
In January 1886, with the full support of his bosses, Nicolaas Samsom left the civil service to run his eponymous publishing business full time. As Secretary Receiver at the Alphen aan den Rijn Town hall—the current location of the Wolters Kluwer Global Headquarters—Samsom built a reputation as an early innovator. He adapted complex legislation into more easily understood language for its readers. He redesigned forms and formats to be more easily managed and updated. And in an early example of direct marketing, he created a free monthly magazine to keep customers up to date. Samsom’s customer-first philosophy helped build a loyal base. Highly trusted by his former bosses, customers and industry peers alike, he moved into commentary, analysis—and later into the fields of tax and education.
In 1891, former bookseller Æbele E. Kluwer established his publishing house in Deventer, in the east of the Netherlands. From the outset, Kluwer established a clear vision: ‘Publish great quality content, or don’t publish at all!’. He saw enormous success in education, then tax, business, technical and scientific publishing. He developed a deep network of subject experts and authors. And he experimented with new ways to bring content alive, such as a pop-up book for his medical publications. In 1909, ‘De Vakstudie‘ series (still being published today by Wolters Kluwer) was the first of its kind to provide a range of fiscal advisors with up to date legal advice and analysis in fiscal matters.
Towards the end of the century, all four houses had cemented national reputations. They had had built excellent relations with the Dutch government and municipalities, business, academic and educational institutions—as well as a strong, trusted network of experts and authors.