The shipyard was established in 1884 in Ronduite as a builder of wooden workboats and fishing boats. In 1954 Jan Huisman specialised in steel sailing yachts, and his son Wolter transitioned to aluminium hulls in 1964 with the 30 feet Van de Stadt Avenir series. In the 1970s the development of extruded aluminium masts and cooperation with New York designers Sparkman & Stephens (S&S) enabled Huisman to tap into performance yachts and the international racing circuit: The shipyard launched its largest yacht to date, the prize-winning 60 feet S&S sloop Running Tide, at its new deep-water premises in Vollenhove in 1970. In 1973 Huisman built Albert Henri Karl Büll’s first Saudade, the 47 feet S&S sloop which won the Admiral’s Cup for Germany in the same year. In 1976, the shipyard built Conny van Rietschoten’s 65 feet S&S ketch Flyer for the 1977–78 Whitbread Round the World Race, which she won. Their success was repeated in the 1981–82 Whitbread race with van Rietschoten’s new 76 feet Frers-designed sloop Flyer II which took line honours in all four legs.
In turn the shipyard developed successfully in Maxi yachts and large cruising yachts with designers Germán Frers and Ron Holland. Upon its hundredth anniversary in 1984 the shipyard was awarded a royal charter by Queen Beatrix and changed its name to Royal Huisman. In 1989 the shipyard set a new trend of large classic yacht revival by cooperating with designer Gerard Dijkstra to restore Elizabeth Meyer’s prestigious 1934 J-class yacht Endeavour. The restoration as well as a number of Royal Huisman’s subsequent projects received industry awards from yacht owners and the press. The shipyard launched the 112 feet sloop Pamina, the World’s first yacht built from the high temper aluminium alloy Alustar, in the year 2000.
Construction takes place in a 30.000m² purpose-built facility with four building halls, a paint hall, a refit hall as well as manufacturing halls operated by Rondal, a subsidiary of Royal Huisman specialized in furlers, winches, deck fittings and pre-impregnated carbon fiber spars and superyacht components.
The shipyard had a workforce of 280 people in 2016