B.Grimm was founded in Thailand in 1878 when German pharmacist Bernhard Grimm and his Austrian partner, Erwin Mueller, started a chemist’s shop, the Siam Dispensary, on the Oriental Avenue off New Road. The shop, one of the earliest incorporated businesses in the country, prospered and it was soon appointed official pharmacist to the Thai Royal family.
As early as 1900, the company had secured partnership with global heavyweights like Siemens Corporation. In 1903, Adolf Link was hired as a manager to help expand the growing business. After King Chulalongkorn returned from his grand tour in Europe, he began putting in place measures to modernize the country to bring it more in line with European nations.
Following the outbreak of World War I, Link, as a German national, had all his assets seized on orders of the British government and was sent with his wife, Erma, and two children, Herbert and Gerhard, to concentration camps in India.
The Links had much credibility in Thailand and they knew the Thais hadn’t taken away their assets on their own initiative. They returned to Thailand after the war ended in 1920. In 1928, HRH Prince Bhanurangrsi built on his property the new premises for the company at Wang Burapha and Their Majesties King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambhai Barni presided over the opening of the new offices.
Herbert Link reopened the company in Thailand in 1949, while brother and partner Gerhard remained in Germany to help expand the B.Grimm name in Europe. In 1953, Gerhard Link was also appointed Thailand’s honorary consul and later its consul general in Hamburg.
Over the next decade, the brothers expanded the business so that by 1964 it included engineering and equipment for healthcare, power generation, telecommunications, air conditioning and mechanical engineering.
The company’s new office and warehouse on New Petchaburi Road was opened by HRH the Princess Mother in January 1967. In 1975, Herbert’s wife, Alma, was bestowed the title of Khunying by HM the King in recognition of her tireless work for various charitable foundations. She was the first foreign woman to receive such an honor in Thailand.
In 1988, Dr Gerhard Link’s son Harald Link expanded B.Grimm into power generation, manufacturing and real estate, and also forged joint ventures with some of the world’s largest corporations.
Harald Link, who had been raised in Germany and had graduated from the University of St. Gallen Business School, had joined his uncle Herbert in Thailand in 1978 to help manage the growing business. He moved to Thailand with his wife, Princess Assunta of Liechtenstein, descendant of Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein.
In 1992, the company built new factories and work also began on another new head office. Soon afterwards, B.Grimm expanded into bio-diesel production and the lifestyle industry. The company has since rapidly expanded its power generation operations which now accounts for 70% of total revenues.
On June 10th at 5pm Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided at the opening of the exhibition “In the Kingdom, 140th Anniversary of B.Grimm.” The Princess was greeted upon her arrival by Dr Harald Link, Chairman of B.Grimm, and his family. More than 1,000 people consisting of dignitaries, ambassadors, leading businesspeople, and distinguished guests joined in to celebrate B.Grimm’s 140 years. The event was in collaboration with the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) and was aimed at raising funds to support BACC’s operation.
The exhibition consisted of two sections. The first, the “Postal History of Thai-German Relations and 140 Years of B.Grimm” on the wall along the 7th-floor ramp leading to the 8th-floor Main Gallery showing more than 50 original historical postal documents dating back over 160 years and depicting Thai-German friendship and diplomatic relations as well as B.Grimm’s business in Siam since 1878. The historical postal items consisting of envelopes, seals, stamps, postal stationeries and picture postcards are empirical evidences indicating the existence of people in history while clearly reflecting the image of the past, political changes, communication and social conditions of the two nations from the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) to the reign of King Bhumibol (Rama IX).
The second section was the Contemporary Art Exhibition featuring works inspired by B.Grimm’s philosophy of “Doing business with compassion” and its ongoing social contributions related to Education, Music, Environment and Gross National Happiness.
In addition to the artwork and memorabilia, guests were treated to a performance by the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.