KLM’s latest Delftware Miniature No. 104 is located in Valkenburg aan de Geul
How the Highly Collectible KLM Delftware Houses Came to Be
KLM’s iconic miniature Delftware houses were introduced in the 1950s as a clever way to circumvent a ban on giving any gifts to passengers. There was no law against giving business-class customers a snifter of gin. “Is there a law that tells us drinks must be served in a glass?” KLM asked. That wasn’t illegal, either. And there was no law to say customers couldn’t take the beverage receptacle with them after enjoying the contents. Thus, the legendary Delft houses, filled with Bols Jenever gin, took off on KLM intercontinental flights. The snifter-gifting tradition endures to this day in KLM World Business Class.
Over the decades, this brand icon has become a prized collectible, each representing a historic Dutch building. Since 1994, the house numbers have kept pace with KLM’s age. A new miniature is added to the collection every year to mark KLM’s anniversary on 7 October.
The 104th anniversary Delftware House is the oldest rail station in the Netherlands
On 7 October 2023, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines celebrated its 104th anniversary by introducing a new addition to its collection of Delftware replicas. This time, they unveiled a miniature representation of the Valkenburg aan de Geul, the oldest station building in the Netherlands. Thus, it has a dual significance, marking Dutch history and reflecting KLM’s commitment to sustainable, air-rail intermodal travel.
Located in the province of Limburg, this historic station is still operational, serving as a stop on the Heuvelland Line between Maastricht and Heerlen. Managed by NS Dutch Railways and ProRail, the building is nearly 170 years old and holds the status of a national heritage site.
KLM President & CEO Marjan Rintel presented the latest addition to the collection to local mayor Daan Prevoo at a reception held in front of the station building, attended by several hundred guests.
“I am thrilled that Valkenburg aan de Geul, with its unique marlstone station, is now part of KLM’s superb Delftware collection. Valkenburg is all about hospitality, history, beauty, and quality. I’m very proud of this acknowledgment, which reflects KLM’s identity as a reliable and customer-friendly airline. I consider it an honor to celebrate the bond between Valkenburg aan de Geul and KLM,” said Daan Prevoo, Mayor of Valkenburg aan de Geul.
“It gives me great pleasure to present this miniature to the mayor of the beautiful town of Valkenburg aan de Geul. Having worked for NS Dutch Railways in the past, I know how committed people are to conserving the rich and interesting rail history of our country. We chose this building because it represents the shared future of KLM and NS Dutch Railways, in which we will further expand our range of air-rail services to replace short-distance flights. We’re working hard to make this happen. This is important to KLM because it is a key aspect of our efforts to make our operations cleaner, quieter, and more efficient,” KLM CEO Marjan Rintel.
Latest KLM Delftware Miniature House Has a Grand, Romantic Setting
The station building in Valkenburg resembles a castle. It was designed by architect Jacob Enschedé in an early English Gothic Revival style. The building features impressive corner towers and battlements. It also mirrors the luxurious spa resorts that Valkenburg is known for. Opening its doors nearly 170 years ago, on October 23, 1853, the station served as a stop on the first international rail link between Maastricht and Aachen. After undergoing a complete restoration in 2005, the station plays a vital role in Valkenburg aan de Geul, attracting tourists from all over the Netherlands and beyond.
One of the Top three Favorite Rail Stations in the Netherlands
Valkenburg Station is recognized as one of the top three favorite stations in the Netherlands, as per a station experience monitor conducted by NS Dutch Railways and ProRail. Its high scores from passengers have earned it this distinction. KLM’s decision to include the station in its Delft house collection is a nod to the historical importance of railways in ensuring accessibility throughout the Netherlands. KLM aims to promote the convenience of air-rail options by expanding their usage. Valkenburg Station is part of a collection of 50 stations managed by NS Dutch Railways and ProRail, each showcasing its own unique architectural character. This collection is cherished and made accessible to the public.
Rail and Air: Complementary Transport
“In my opinion, it’s perfect that – in this age where train and aircraft are complementing each other more closely – one of the most beautiful stations in the country has been added to KLM’s collection of Delftware replicas. For 170 years, Valkenburg Station has been a firm favorite among train passengers, and I am sure KLM passengers will delight in this beautiful building,” said Wouter Koolmees, CEO of NS Dutch Railways.
“It’s wonderful that Valkenburg Station, the oldest station building in the Netherlands, has been chosen as the latest addition to KLM’s collection. This captures how air and rail traffic are connecting with one another. As guardians of this station, we’re also very proud because we feel it is an iconic symbol of sustainability. For many years, we have taken good care of the station here in Valkenburg, which is so close to neighboring countries. Many nationalities pass through our town by train. The fact that replicas of our station will now also be presented to international airline passengers is a great tribute,” said John Voppen, CEO of ProRail.
The Third KLM Delftware Miniature House in Limburg
The station in Valkenburg aan de Geul is the third building in the province of Limburg that KLM has added to its collection of Delftware miniatures. Presented in 2001, Miniature No. 82 is a replica of Huys op de Jeker located at No. 5 Bonnefantenstraat in Maastricht. No. 84, presented in 2003, is a replica of De Oude Munt Tavern located at No. 7 Muntpromenade in Weert.