Why Jan van Hardeveld was Heading to Panama in 1905

Jan van Hardeveld was a Dutch businessman who was heading to Panama in 1905 in order to start up a branch of his company. At the time, Panama was experiencing a boom due to the construction of the Panama Canal, and van Hardeveld saw this as an opportunity to make a lot of money.

Background on the Panama Canal project

The Panama Canal is a man-made waterway that runs through the country of Panama. It connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and was built in order to shorten the amount of time it took for ships to travel between these two oceans. Construction on the canal began in 1904 and it took 10 years to complete.

The need for the Panama Canal

Prior to the construction of the canal, ships travelling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans had to go all the way around South America, which added months onto their journey. The construction of the canal saved sailors a considerable amount of time and made shipping between these two oceans much more efficient.

Van Hardeveld’s business venture

Seeing an opportunity to make money off this major infrastructure project, van Hardeveld decided to set up a branch of his company in Panama. He arrived in Panama City in 1905 and started doing business there. Unfortunately, he did not have much success and ended up returning to Holland empty-handed just a few years later.


Although he had high hopes, Jan van Hardeveld’s business venture in Panama did not work out as planned. He was hoping to take advantage of the construction of the Panama Canal but ended up returning home empty-handed a few years later. Sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, but that’s just part of life!