Our history

The history of DNV goes back to 1864

For 160 years, DNV has built trust and confidence between parties and made sure that things work in a safe and reliable way.

It all started by assessing the seaworthiness of wooden sail ships. Today, we help more than 100,000 companies across the world to conduct their business in a safe and sustainable manner.  Whether it’s assessing safety at sea, advising on energy projects, certifying supply chains, advancing food safety, improving patient care, or managing cyber risks. 

Watch this video to learn how DNV has developed and built trust over the last 160 years (5 min)

DNV history film

Here are some of the highlights featured in the video above from our 160-year history: 


DNV (Det Norske Veritas) is founded as a membership organization in Oslo, Norway by mutual marine insurance clubs. We establish a uniform set of rules and procedures to assess the condition and seaworthiness of vessels, so that risk can be managed and the right insurance premium set for both ships and their cargo. 


Three years later in Hamburg, Germany, a group of 600 ship owners, shipbuilders and insurers gather to found Germanischer Lloyd (GL). (In 2013, DNV and GL merge, and the company changed name to DNV GL, but was renamed to DNV in 2021). 


Our first surveyor is posted in China. Ten years later we open our first office in the US and we expand our presence to ports across the globe.   


We’re at the first meeting of what was to become the International Treaty on the Safety of Life at Sea held as a result of the sinking of the Titanic.  


We establish a research department and start pioneering an analytical and scientific approach to ship building. A scientific approach that has become ingrained in how we work with innovation and risk management to provide impartial assurance and advise on safety, quality, efficiency, and sustainability.   


We buy the largest computer in Norway and develop the first software solution for design and optimization of ships and offshore structures.   


Oil and gas is discovered in the North Sea, and our knowledge about waves, materials and structural integrity, becomes even more valuable. We use our experience and technological competence to develop verification, inspection and risk management services and we are assigned most of the building supervision and inspection on the Norwegian continental shelf. 


The world’s first pipeline rules are published by DNV. By 2008, 65% of all offshore pipelines in the world are built to our standards. 


Wind energy is introduced as a new business segment. This, and other climate-friendly service areas grow from a strong, research-driven technology base. New rules for wind turbine design are developed. By 2007, 70% of all offshore wind farms are certified by DNV. 


The ISO 9000 quality management standards are introduced, and we become one of the leading companies to certify corporations’ quality and environmental management systems. This takes us into a wide range of industries, and we expand our global footprint.   


We start certifying medical devices in the EU.   


We become the first to break a near monopoly in the US by being authorized to certify quality standards in US hospitals and help them improve patient care.  Today, we have certified around 6,000 healthcare organizations. 


More than 6,000 food and beverage companies are certified by us. That has grown to 11,000 today.


Electrification of industry and society is really accelerating. We acquire KEMA and become a globally leading advisor and certifier of cleaner energy, power generation, transmission and distribution.     


We join forces with Germanischer Lloyd (GL) and become the world’s leading classification society.  At this point, 1 in 4 classed ships are built to our technical rules and standards. The merger also makes us the number one global provider of certification and advisory services to energy sector.   


We launch Veracity in 2017, an independent platform and marketplace for industry data. Also, at this point, more than a million people use our wide range of industrial software solutions.   2020 In response to the COVID pandemic, we scale up our digital services, remote audits, drone inspections, and AI capabilities.   


We become one of the fastest-growing providers of cyber security services in Europe.   

Today, we are 15,000 experts operating in more than 100 countries – inspired by a common purpose to safeguard life, property, and the environment. 
Learn more about our people and how we make an impact: Why DNV

Our history banner image