10 Things You Didn’t Know about Hans Melchers

There are many influential people in the world, some you may know, and some whose names you might not usually come across. One such person is Hans Melchers, a Dutch billionaire and chemist, who is not only known for his wealth but his contributions to society and unique life events that make him stand out from the rest. Here are ten things you may not know about Hans Melchers.

1. Origins and Family Background

Hendrikus (Hans) Melchers was born on 18 May 1938 in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. He hails from a somewhat humble background, a fact which greatly shaped the industrious man he would become. Melchers’s father owned a paint factory; it was his first taste of entrepreneurial activity, and it definitely left a lasting imprint on him.

Melchers took the lessons learned from his father to heart and expanded those ideals. He eventually one-upped his father’s industry by starting his own chemical engineering ventures, thus building a vast empire of his own. These early years formed a firm foundation for his multi-billion property portfolio.

2. Career in Chemistry

Contrary to popular belief, chemists don’t always end up stuck in laboratories. Melchers is a shining example of this. The Dutch businessman made his fortune through his flourishing career in chemical engineering and trading. He studied economics at the University of Groningen and started his ascent by working for a German chemical firm.

In 1971, Melchers founded Melchemie Holland BV, a chemical trading company, proving yet again that chemistry goes beyond test tubes and petri dishes. Melchemie Holland BV deals in an array of chemical products, from pesticides to raw materials for paint.

3. Book Publishing Endeavors

Melchers has a diverse portfolio, and a significant part of his fortune also comes from his engagement in book publishing. That’s right, the Dutch billionaire owns PCM Uitgevers, one of the Netherlands’ prominent media publishing firms. PCM Uitgevers is responsible for producing some of the country’s most widely distributed newspapers and books, holding a vital role in Dutch media and culture.

His interest in publishing didn’t just stop there. Melchers later acquired a majority stake in De Telegraaf, the largest Dutch daily morning newspaper. It’s clear that the balance between science and arts in Melchers’ investments speaks volumes about his diverse interests.

4. Major Stake in HAL Trust

Hal Trust has been a central part of Melchers’ wealth. He became a significant shareholder in the international investment company Hal Trust back in the 1980s. The venture capital firm, which encompasses a myriad of different enterprises, was significant in adding to Melchers’ wealth, further cementing his billionaire status.

With his stake in HAL Trust, Melchers diversified his portfolio, investing in various sectors, including real estate, maritime services, and energy. The company’s investments spread across several countries and continents, which allows for excellent risk dispersion.

5. Art Collector and Museum Founder

Adding to his array of interests, Melchers is a passionate art collector. He owns an extensive collection of Dutch masters from the Golden Age, including works by Rembrandt, Jan van Goyen, and various others.

His love for art led to the establishment of the Museum MORE in Gorssel, Netherlands. The museum is home to many Dutch masters and other modern Realist artwork. Showcasing Melchers’ profound appreciation for art, the museum is a true testament to his deep cultural roots and his desire to share them with the world.

6. Victim of Family Kidnapping

Being a billionaire isn’t always glitz and glamour. Melchers faced a tumultuous time when his daughter, Claudia Melchers, was kidnapped in 2005. The incident was traumatic for the family, but thankfully, Claudia was returned safely after three days.

The incident had far-reaching consequences, with heightened security measures for Melchers and his family. The incident, though unfortunate, served as a stark reminder of the perils that sometimes come with such vast wealth and notoriety.

7. Philanthropist

Despite his vast fortune, Melchers hasn’t forgotten to give back to society. He set up the Hans Melchers Fund, which supports numerous charitable causes in healthcare, culture, and social involvement. His philanthropic activities highlight his character beyond the world of business.

In addition to this, Melchers supports academic research and environmental causes. Over the years, his philanthropic activities have further established his legacy as a man who uses his wealth for worthy causes.

8. An Unknown Poker Player

Believe it not, Melchers is an avid fan of poker. He is well known in the international poker circuit and even participated in the World Series of Poker. This hobby showcases another intriguing aspect of his diverse interests.

While gaming might be seen as a pastime, for Melchers it’s also about strategy, risk-taking, and excitement – qualities necessary for success in the world of business. In some ways, you could consider the poker tables as his unconventional training ground.

9. Divorced and Remarried

Melchers has weathered the storms of life, not only in business but also in his personal life. He was divorced from his first wife, had two children, and later remarried. His current wife, Hadewych (Dido) Hondius, is an art historian whose influence is seen in Melchers’ interest in Dutch art and culture.

Despite the break-up of his first marriage, Melchers remained committed to his family, including his children. Personal challenges didn’t derail him from his path to success. If anything, they made him stronger.

10. He’s a polo enthusiast

When he’s not making deals or collecting art, Melchers enjoys the thrilling sport of polo. He is even the owner of a couple of polo horses and often enjoys games at his estate in Vorden, Netherlands.

This interest not only adds another layer to his personality but also emphasizes his appreciation of strategic sports. Similar to poker, polo involves strategy, risk-taking, and decisiveness – again replicating factors necessary for his business ventures.


Hans Melchers is more than just a billionaire businessman. He’s a combination of a shrewd investor, chemist, art lover, poker player, and philanthropist. His life is a fascinating blend of business, personal adventure, and deep-seated passion for a variety of interests.

Here’s more to learn about Hans Melchers.

Hans Melchers on Forbes

Museum MORE official site