Wereldhave was founded in 1930. The most important activity at the time was the construction and management of residential real estate in Rotterdam. In the early 1960s, Wereldhave expanded its activities to other cities in the Netherlands. Around 1971, the activities focused mainly on investments and less on construction and development, and Wereldhave evolved from a real estate company into an investment institution with the associated tax status.
The first foreign investment was made in France in 1975, followed by Belgium in 1976, Germany in 1977 and the United Kingdom in 1978. Wereldhave also made its first investment in the United States in 1978. All these investments grew in the following years. During the second half of 1988, a major expansion was achieved in the United Kingdom with the acquisition of the British Peachey Property Corporation Plc. A first investment in Spain was also made in that year. Investments in Germany were sold in 1993 and 1998.
In 2002, Wereldhave bought the Itäkeskus shopping centre in Finland. The Finnish management team joined Wereldhave.
Since 2012, the company has undergone a drastic transformation. From a real estate investor in seven countries in 5 different domains of real estate to a specialist investor in medium-sized shopping centres in 4 countries in north-western Continental Europe. The investments in the United States and the United Kingdom were sold in early 2013. The entire Spanish portfolio was sold in 2014, and on July 31, 2015, Wereldhave announced that it would stop its investments and developments in French offices. New shopping centres were purchased in 2014 and 2015 in the Netherlands, France and Belgium. After completing these transactions, retail now comprises 96.5% of the entire portfolio across Finland, the Netherlands, France and Belgium. This clear profile falls within Wereldhaves' ambition to be Europe's leading player in medium-sized shopping centres.