Dutch-Belgian firm DSH opens Dusseldorf office

Dutch-Belgian firm DSH Derks Star Busmann Hanotiau has become the third international firm – after Shearman & Sterling and Clifford Chance – to establish a permanent base in Dusseldorf.

From the start of next year, Ton Heebing, a dual Dutch-German-qualified partner in the firm's Arnheim office, will be stationed in the city on a full-time basis.

The office is the firm's second in Germany after Berlin.

Joseph Hermes, a German lawyer in Derks' Berlin office, said: “As the only Dutch firm in Germany, it was a natural thing to extend the practice.”

He explained that the firm has had a temporary presence in the city since the start of the year when it merged with a small Arnheim-based practice, Winters & Bosnak.

Winters set up in Dusseldorf about four years ago. However, its operations were fairly low-key, as Hermes explained: “The office is not presently staffed on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis.” Heebing travels between the Netherlands and Dusseldorf as necessary.

The upgrading of the office highlights the growing importance of Dusseldorf, a major industrial city, as a legal centre in Germany.

Gustav-Rudolf Schlieper, a partner at Clifford Chance's office, which opened in August, said: “Frankfurt is the banking centre in Germany while Dusseldorf is the industrial centre, with numerous big companies based there. It is also the centre of the coal and steel industries.”

Although he was unaware that Derks had recently set up an office in Dusseldorf, Schlieper predicted that more foreign firms would move there soon.