Ericsson's sales in the Netherlands started in 1892 through the company Nederlansche Bell Telephoon Maatschappij, which operated the telephone network in major Dutch cities.
Other telephone operators in the country had also begun to use Ericsson as a supplier, and in 1895, the company recruited a Dutch agent in Amsterdam. Toward the end of the decade, complete telephone stations were delivered to several cities. This trend continued in the early 1900s.
Orders were also received from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and other colonies. The telephone network on the main island of Java was greatly expanded during the first decades of the 1900s, and Ericsson supplied a large portion of the equipment for the switching stations.
During the first decades of the 1900s, the Netherlands was one of Ericsson's largest export markets, even without the colonies. In the city of Rotterdam, Ericsson received an early order for advanced manual switches, and it was here that Ericsson's revolutionary 500-switch system was first taken into operation in 1923.
It was therefore not surprising that Ericsson began manufacturing in the Netherlands. In 1920, the company became the majority owner in a manufacturing company that had been established in 1907. The company changed its name in conjunction with the change in ownership to N.V. Nederlandsche Ericsson Telefoonfabrieken. When Ericsson in 1931 acquired all shares in the company, the named was changed to Ericsson Telefoon Maatschappij.
Manufacturing in the Netherlands was not particularly important, since most telephone equipment continued to be imported from Sweden.
During the 1930s, the large deliveries to the Netherlands were very important in Ericsson's struggle to survive the effects of the Kreuger crash and the global depression.
The Netherlands, and particularly the city of Rotterdam, continued to be an important market for new Ericsson products. The first crossbar switch for international traffic, for example, was taken into operation in Rotterdam in 1952. The same city inaugurated the world's first international computer-controlled transit system based on the AKE 13 system.
It was also in the Netherlands that Ericsson in the early 1980s received its first order for a complete system package for a mobile telephone network. The package included the MTX mobile switching center, base stations and cell planning services.
Author: Mats Wickman