Holland-China Trading Company (HCHC), Hong Kong, 1950, retirement Klimanek | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Holland-China Trading Company (HCHC), Hong Kong, 1950, retirement Klimanek

Holland-China Trading Company (HCHC), Hong Kong, 1950, retirement Klimanek

Even though HCHC was taken over by Internatio in 1948, people kept referring to the company as Holland-China Trading Company. This group photo was taken for the occasion of senior manager Philip Harding Klimanek (front row, sixth from the left) leaving the company. Charles Gesner van der Voort can be found front row, first from the left, his wife Nancy third from the left. Phil Beekmeijer and his wife Ans are third row, first and second from the left.
Peter Gesner van der Voort, Charles' son, recognised comprador Mr. Zie - he is not completely sure about the name - first row first from the right. If a relative of Mr. Zie reads this, please contact me! charlesinshanghai1939@gmail.com
P.H. Klimanek was Charles' manager, when he started working for HCHC in Shanghai in January 1939.

The photo was taken by Ming Yuen Studio, 6 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong.

Courtesy Gesner van der Voort family archives

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Friday, October 27, 1950


Although the photograph was taken close to 70 years ago, I would like to report that the young lady in the second row, standing second from right is alive and well and resides overseas.

The following was communicated after being shown the photograph. She was aged 18 at the time and remembers working for a Dutch trading company, the full name she cannot recollect. Her job entailed deciphering codes in telegrams and correspondence for placement of business orders. She did not remain in the company long and cannot remember other individuals in the photograph. Following her wishes, her name is not disclosed.

That's good to hear - well done for making the connection!

Hello Moddsey,

How nice indeed that you made this connection after such a long time, remarkable. Thank you for sharing this.

Similarly, I was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by Charles Gesner van der Voort's former secretary, who worked for him shortly after he moved back to the Netherlands, in 1960. I placed an article in a newspaper for elderly people in the Rotterdam area and got this reaction.

Kind regards,


Dear reader,

Do you perhaps recognise the venue where Philip Harding Klimanek's retirement party was held? There is a typical mosaic floor, which can also be seen in the dinner photos, at the same occasion.

Kind regards,


China Mail 16 December 1950

In the photo section of the newspaper, the following caption is noted:

Staff of the Holland-China Trading Co. Ltd. gathered at a farewell dinner in honour of Mr. P. H. Klimanek at the Tai Tung Restaurant last week, Mr. Klimanek is retiring after 46 years with the firm. (Ming Yuen).

The Tai Tung Restaurant was located at 234 Des Voeux Road Central. The vertical signboard of the Chinese restaurant appears above and slightly to the right of the nearest tram.

1950s Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan
1950s Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan, by Moddsey

Great photo and information, thank you moddsey!


The actual photo appears here in the Hong Kong Telegraph dated 28 October 1950. The retirement party was for H. Schreuder. Also held at the Tai Tung Restaurant.

Many thanks for this information Moddsey. Nice to see how the retirement party entered into the society photo section of the Hong Kong Telegraph. I believe H. Schreuder was the manager at the time when Philip Harding Klimanek retired. In a photo album of people I visited the party was described as for Mr. Klimanek's retirement. So I think the newspaper reporter mixed up the names.