KLM Miniatures history

The KLM houses are presents to travelers a board KLM flights in Business and Royal Class. They have been presented over a long period and thus have become collector items. There are 93 different types which are numbered 1 - 93.

There is Dutch Genever, 35% alcohol, in the houses, which are in fact bottles with a cork and seal on top. Sometimes the genever has been drunk but mostly the empty bottles were empty all along. On flights to some countries with alcohol restrictions empty houses are presented. On some of the houses a sticker explains this by referring to customs regulations. (Empty due to custom regulations on this flight) Sometimes there is a cork and seal and sometimes there isn't (and never was) on the empty bottles.

KLM started issuing these miniature bottles in 1952. Air companies were not allowed to give presents to their customers because of unfair competition. So, KLM had some Blue Delft houses made, and filled them with genever. Then, of course, their competitors complained "KLM is giving presents to their customers". The KLM said "May we decide how we serve our drinks? Is their a law which tells me drinks have to be served in a glass?"... and so it all started.

The KLM was founded 7th of October in 1919. In 1993 there were 60 different houses issued. In 1994, when the KLM celebrated it's 75 anniversary, they issued a total of 15 miniatures, bringing the total to 75! so that the number of houses would be the same as the age of the KLM, in fact house #75 is the former KLM head office. Then every year on the 7th of October a new house will be issued. This year 2012 the newest house is 93 because of 93rd birthday from KLM.

The Delft Blue KLM houses were made by Koninklijke Goedewaagen. Goedewaagen was first located in Gouda, but moved to Nieuw Buinen (Drente) in 1984. Somebody was talking about 'remakes from Taiwan' and 'not being real Delft houses'.

Well, what's the real story about this ? Here's what I know!

Goedewaagen has made these KLM houses up to 1995. Their last shipment to Bols was in march 1995. Then, Bols no longer had these houses made by Goedewaagen, but had them made in Singapore. Bols' reason was that Goedewaagen's houses were inferior and leaking. Bols had quite a lot of complaints and apparently Goedewaagen could not solve this problem. "Ridiculous" said Goedenwaagen's CEO S.J. Kramer, "We make more Delft Blue than they make in Delft. How could we produce inferior quality? They just find us too expensive". So, Goedewaagen sued Bols for ending the contract. Goedewaagen kept continuing producing these houses, but now without "Bols" or "KLM" on it, and the houses did also not contain any genever. Bols now sued Goedewaagen for this. In May 1997 Bols wins this case. Goedewaagen is no longer allowed to produce houses which look like the KLM-houses of Bols.

So 'Remakes' and 'Taiwan'... but both different stories... The 'Remakes' have to be the houses Goedewaagen kept on producing while the contract with Bols had been ended. These remakes do not have the markes KLM or BOLS on them. 'Taiwan', or actually Singapore... Yes, this is were the houses have been made since 1995! So, for example, all houses numbered 75 and higher would be made in Taiwan. But. Is this really a reason to panic? No. Of course not. In 1997, at the end of the case, they asked W. Ingenhoven (head public relations Bols): "So, does this mean that the KLM houses are not really Delft Blue anymore?" His answer was: "The technic to make Delft Blue is not bound by place. Approximately 75% of all Delft Blue is not made in Delft. That goes for Drente and is nothing different for China. We have nothing to complain about their quality". Simon Rynbende started his Distillery in 1793. The Rynbende company was taken over by Henkes in 1953. Henkes was taken over by Bols in the 80's. The most logical explanation is, that KLM's contract first was with Rynbende. After Rynbende was taken over by Henkes, the KLM miniatures were filled with Henkes liquor. Then, in the 80's the Bols houses came. As there is no more Rynbende company at this moment, I do not see why there should be any 'remake' by Rynbende. In Rynbende's time Goedewaagen was still manufactoring these houses, and they stopped in 1995, long after Rynbende was taken over by Henkes, and Henkes was taken over by Bols. 'Remakes' by Goedewaagen (if we can call them like this) do not have KLM and BOLS on them. So, these can be easily found, and I guess no KLM miniature collector collects houses which do not have "KLM" on them. 'Remakes from Taiwain' do not exist, for these are the real (official) houses. Ok, they are not made in Delft, but also Goedewaagen was not located in Delft (first in Gouda, and then they moved to the east of Holland, Nieuw Buinen). So. No panic. Enjoy your collection, and let's all wait if there is going to be a # 94 next october. I believe KLM houses will be around for a long time yet. KLM has merged with Air France but the brand KLM will be used in future and it has been made public the Her Royal Majesty Queen Beatrix has allowed KLM to use the crown and the title Royal or Koninklijk in it's name. This is a very special exception as normally a company has to be Dutch to be allowed this honour.

(I thank Wouter S. Rijnbende for part of this text which I copied from his site)

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