In 1977, Dooitze Dijkstra was on a sheep farm in Scotland. He wanted to step across the electric fence to have a look at some lambs. The fence was almost entirely covered by long grass, and on the basis of his knowledge and experience, Dijkstra decided it would not be live. He swung his leg across the wire, and got the shock of his life in an extremely sensitive area.
His son Erik explains: "My Dad was totally gobsmacked about what had happened to him, so he was determined to discover the cause. On the basis of his experience, he thought it was impossible that there could be so much power on a fence when there was a lot of vegetation." After a chat with the Scottish farmer, it turned out that the shock had come from the Gallagher BEV II Energizer. Dooitze Dijkstra returned home without any sheep, but with two Gallagher fence energizers.
When he was back home, he showed his new purchases to Jan Veldman, his brother-in-law and business partner. The two of them soon realised that this device had enormous business potential.
They knew that Dutch electric fences were weak and ineffective at the time, especially when grass was growing against them. The two farmers were convinced that this new and much more powerful energizer would sell well to Dutch sheep farmers, who were faced with considerable costs to maintain their traditional fencing.
They wrote a letter to Bill Gallagher in New Zealand, asking for more information. During a dark, stormy, night in the spring of 1977, the Dijkstra family was sitting around the fire on their farm in Adorp when they heard someone tap on the window. ‘Who can that be?’ they wondered. The family's farm was in the middle of a rural area just outside Groningen. It was raining, and there were no lights on outside. Nobody would normally tap on the window: visitors would just come in.
The family let the stranger in. He introduced himself as Bill Gallagher. One of the Dijkstras had written to him, and he had come across from New Zealand to talk about electric fencing. He started talking about his company, its origins, and the reasons why his fence energizers were so good.
Dooitze's English was not great, but Erik and his younger brother Meindert understood him very well. Gallagher visited them again that October, and it was not long after when Veldman & Dijkstra were granted the distribution rights for the Gallagher Energizer for the Netherlands. Since then, Veldman & Dijkstra has developed into the international commercial enterprise Gallagher Europe.