The airline’s newest collectible is out: KLM’s 103rd Miniature Delftware House



KLM Royal Dutch Airlines hosts an annual birthday party on October 7 to mark the anniversary of the airline’s founding in 1919.

The highlight of the evening is the unveiling of the airline’s brand new gin-filled miniature Delftware house, representing another building of historical or architectural significance in the Netherlands or abroad.

This year’s house

The airline has offered miniature Delft Blue houses to passengers traveling in KLM’s long-haul business class cabins since the 1950s. Through a catch-up program, the number of houses in the collection now matches the age of the airline company. (Some limited edition and “special occasion” houses have also been released.)

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At this year’s anniversary party, the airline unveiled House No. 103: a miniature Delftware replica of the Ecury house in Aruba. As part of the festivities in Aruba, KLM Chairman and CEO Marjan Rintel presented the first miniature to Agustin Vrolijk – acting governor of Aruba – and the Ecury family.

“KLM has had many ups and downs over the past century,” Rintel said. “But we have always celebrated our anniversary on October 7 because we want to continue celebrating that KLM is a wonderful company that connects the Netherlands to the world.”

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KLM has chosen the Ecury house in Aruba to base its new Delftware n° 103 miniature house. KLM

This is only the second time that a KLM Delftware miniature has been based on a building outside the Netherlands. (A building in Curaçao received this honor on the occasion of KLM’s 85th anniversary).

KLM chose the Ecury house because Aruba will celebrate its centenary of aviation in 2023, and Nicasio “Dundun” Ecury has played an important role in the development of aviation on the island. His son, Boy Ecury, studied in the Netherlands and was a resistance hero during World War II before he was betrayed and executed in 1944.

The Ecury House, built in 1929, is now part of the National Archaeological Museum of Aruba and sits near the site where the first plane to Aruba landed. Besides its historical significance, the Ecury family home has architectural merit, according to Mark Zegeling, the Dutch author of several books on real houses and iconic buildings featured in KLM’s Delft Miniature Houses series.

“Designed by Aruban architect Medardo Dada Picus in a typical Caribbean Art Deco style, the Green House “is decorated with gingerbread carvings along the portico and balcony,” Zegeling said. “With its Art Deco facade, stained glass windows and ornamental vases at the corners of the roof, Cas Ecury is part of Aruba’s cultural heritage.”

KLM’s connection to Aruba dates back nearly 90 years.

A KLM Fokker-XVIII aircraft, dubbed “the Snip”, first landed in Aruba on December 23, 1934, as part of KLM’s first transatlantic flight. Regular service between Aruba and Curaçao began on January 19, 1935, and was the first flight operated by the Caribbean branch of KLM. Regular service between Amsterdam and Aruba began almost 50 years ago in 1974. Today there are daily flights between the two destinations.

Past and future of miniature houses

The airline has been offering miniature Delft Blue houses to passengers traveling in KLM’s long-haul business class cabins since the 1950s. KLM

The idea of ​​filling the miniature earthenware houses of Delft with gin originated in the 1950s, when the value of the gifts the airline could offer its passengers was limited. By putting alcohol (Dutch Genever Bowls) inside the tiny houses, they could be seen as cocktails delivered in souvenir containers, rather than stand-alone gifts.

Today, each KLM World Business Class passenger on an intercontinental flight can choose a miniature Delftware house from a selection offered by the cabin crew. Tiny houses have become highly sought after collectibles, and there’s a Delft Blue Houses app to help serious collectors know which editions they have or still need.

Rintel – who was CEO of NS Dutch Railways before taking over as CEO and chairman of KLM on July 1, 2022 – told TPG that in the past 15 years of working for KLM she has often had the chance to fly in World Business Class and receive Delft Miniature Houses as a passenger.

“I have a little over half of the houses in my personal collection and display them in my living room,” she said.

House 103 was already chosen when Rintel came on board, but now as CEO of KLM she will be involved in the choice of house 104.

“These collectibles reflect the deep connection our brand and our history have with the Netherlands and Dutch culture,” Rintel told TPG. “And we certainly won’t make any changes to this great program.”

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