The actual founders of the Van der Valk Group are the farmers Nicolaas van der Valk (1862) and his wife Elisabeth Groenewegen. They rebuilt their dairy in the city of Voorschoten into a cafe with a veranda. Establishing this cafe enabled them to supplement their income from the farm.
The idea proved to be a success and more and more travellers visited the cafe. Martinus Cornelis (1939) became the new owner of the business after the death of his father and built the cafe into a hotel. Martinus Cornelis was the proud father of 11 children. He wanted each of his children to own their own business.
Meanwhile, thanks to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the company expanded into the largest hospitality group in the Netherlands with 59 locations and an additional 25 hotels in countries around the world. In November 2010, the book "Van der Valk, the eventful history of a Dutch family in the hospitality industry" appeared which tells the complete historical story.