1st Rickmers generation


R. C. Rickmers died, age 79, in Bremerhaven. He left his sons the mission of continuing the business and converting the shipyard to the building of steam and ironclad vessels.

1872 - 1878

Rice had great significance as return cargo on routes from East Asia to Europe and became the most valued good on transports in the 1870s. In order to ensure its distribution in Europe, RC Rickmers took a share in the Bremen-based milling company Ichon & Co. When his associate Eduart Ichon decided to leave the business, RC Rickmers took the opportunity to take over the mill. In 1878 the mill’s name was changed from “Ichon und Rickmers” to “Rickmers Reismühlen”.  After taking over all shares in the company, Rickmers quickly expanded his rice milling operation, making it the largest rice mill operation in Germany. By this time, his business contacts extended beyond Europe all the way to East Asia.


The DEIKE RICKMERS was launched in Geestemünde. At 1840 GRT, this full-rigged ship was Germany's largest wooden sailing vessel at the time. With his newly built ships, Rickmers acquired a reputation as a specialist for sailing vessels of highest architectural standards.


RC Rickmers officially founded the “Rickmers Rhederei” shipping company in Bremerhaven.


The quality of vessels constructed at Rickmers’ yard was soon known far beyond Bremerhaven. 
The yard was working to full capacity and was becoming too small for the ambitious shipbuilding enterprise. RC Rickmers bought some land in Geestemünde, Prussia. A modern shipbuilding yard with new workshops, accommodation for workers, a park and a school was opened in 1857. More than 1000 people found work and a new home here.


Rickmers launched the brig BASSERMANN, a ship built in his shipyard for his own account. This laid the foundations for his shipping company, which he expanded by building other ships for his own account in his shipyard. The BASSERMANN was the first ship to fly the green-red-white Rickmers flag carrying the white “R”. This flag soon became the trademark of RC Rickmers’ enterprise and made him and the company famous throughout the world. 


In order to use his yard to full capacity Rickmers acquired shares in newbuildings. The shares in ships like the “ATHENE” and the “WESER” were very lucrative. Rickmers’ exertion as co-owner turned out to be profitable in more than one way – it guaranteed orders for his shipbuilding business and secured a successful, long-term investment.


Rickmers opened a shipbuilding workshop in Bremerhaven on the Lower Weser. This small business developed into Rickmers’ shipyard – and, later on, into a shipping and trading company with operations worldwide. “Fear God – act justly and dread no one” was RC Rickmers’ motto in life when he went into business for himself as a young shipbuilder. In 1836 the vessel named “CATHARINA” with its 23 GRT was the first newbuilding order for the still young Rickmers shipyard.


When Rickmer Clasen Rickmers was denied permission to marry the love of his life, Etha Reimers, the two of them left the island of Helgoland and got married on the mainland. They settled down in Bremerhaven, where RC laid the foundation for the successful ship-owning and shipbuilding dynasty.


Rickmer Clasen Rickmers was born in 1807 as the son of fisherman Peter Andreas and his wife Deike on the North Sea island of Helgoland. His parents arranged for him to attend school on the mainland for several years.