Hans Niels Andersen

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Hans Niels Andersen
H.N. Andersen
Born (1852-09-10)10 September 1852
Nakskov, Denmark
Died 30 December 1937(1937-12-30) (aged 85)
Nationality Danish
Occupation Shipping magnate, businessman
Known for Founder of the East Asiatic Company
Awards Knight of the Elephant

Hans Niels Andersen (10 September 1852 – 30 December 1937) was a Danish shipping magnate, businessman and founder of the East Asiatic Company.

Born into a working-class family in Nakskov, he trained as a shipbuilder before hiring on as a ship's carpenter in 1872. He came to Bangkok for the first time in 1873 and advanced to first mate and later master of a ship owned by the king of Siam. Subsequently, he entered the freight business in East Asia and later Europe. In 1885 he started his own company, Andersen & Co., which encompassed import/export, shipping, logging and sawmills.

Returning to Copenhagen, he opened a branch office of his company and in 1897, together with Isak Glückstadt, director of the Danish Farmers' Bank, founded the East Asiatic Company. This eventually became the largest company in Denmark, diversifying into shipbuilding, marine propulsion, insurance, etc., with branch offices all over the world.

During World War I, in which Denmark remained neutral, he went on missions to several countries, attempting unsuccessfully to initiate peace negotiations, but more successfully to secure Danish interests.

He was Siam's Consul General in Denmark 1898–1932, became titular Councilor of State (Danish: Etatsråd) in 1900, and was created Knight of the Elephant, the highest Danish order, in 1919.


  • "H.N. Andersen". Den Store Danske Encyklopædi (in Danish). Retrieved 22 January 2010. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lange, Ole (1986). Den hvide elefant (in Danish). Copenhagen: Gyldendal. ISBN 87-01-68405-1. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>