In 1922 it started as NV Hazemeyer's Fabriek van Signaalapparaten in the small city of Hengelo. Hazemeyer started the company to produce fire control equipment for two new ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy: Hr.Ms. Sumatra and Hr.Ms. Java. The company grew rapidly and welcomed customers from a.o. Sweden, Spain and Greece.
In 1940 the factory was captured virtually intact by the invading German Army. A large number of the staff were able to escape to the United Kingdom and continued to work there on radar and fire control systems. When they returned to their home country, they found the factory pillaged and deserted.
The Dutch government was aware of the importance of a good defence industry and bought the factory. The company continued under the name N.V. Hollandsche Signaalapparaten (Signaal for short). New buildings and facilities were erected and new staff was hired. In these years a lot of techniques and systems were developed, such as radar, fire control for the army, computers and air traffic control equipment. Signaal was back on its feet!
In 1956 Philips bought a large part of the shares from the government and became the main shareholder. The company flourished and opened plants in several cities across the country. Near the end of the eighties Signaal employed over 5.000 people and served customers in over 35 countries.
As the Cold War ended, the political theatre changed dramatically. Large cuts in defence budgets forced Signaal to reorganise, leading to a staff reduction. Meanwhile Philips decided that "Defence and Control Systems" were not part of its core-business and in 1990 Signaal was taken over by Thomson-CSF (now Thales). The reorganisation and the merger with Thomson-CSF brought the company a new driving force. New systems were designed, taking a leap in defence equipment and combat management.
In December 2000 Thomson-CSF changed its name to THALES. Being a member of this group, Thomson-CSF Signaal changed its name to THALES NEDERLAND.