1945: The start of Rambøll & Hannemann

Two young engineers envisage a company where employees could thrive and grow.
Børge Rambøll and Johan Hannemann

One October morning, two young engineers walked through a door leading out to the Danish Technical University’s flat roof in the center of the city. Standing side by side on top of the building, they looked out over the newly liberated Copenhagen. “I don’t know if you remember, Johan, that we stood there on the roof and talked about the company we wanted to establish”, said Børge Rambøll at the company’s 25th anniversary.

The two engineers, Børge Rambøll and Johan Hannemann, had, like so many others at that time, seen enough destruction throughout the war and they felt a strong urge to help start a new development and re-build society. And perhaps they could, by putting their skills together, they thought.

The original plan was, though, very far from the multidisciplinary and international company Ramboll is today: “You needn’t think we had such grand visions. We never imagined that we would be sitting in such a large circle as we are today. We almost didn’t call it a company, we just talked about how it might be fun to try to do a little design work on our own”, Børge Rambøll further explained at the 25th anniversary.

In time, it showed that the two engineers were a perfect match. Johan Hannemann was the highly talented engineer, who was able to dissect any structure within seconds. On the other hand, Børge Rambøll represented a strong humanistic and social visionary view, and was very aware of the company’s role in the development of society.