There can be many reasons for flying an airline, but a highlight for KLM is their offering of a Delftware miniature house. The airline has unveiled its new one – numbered 104.
This new miniature depicts the oldest station building in the Netherlands, which is in Valkenburg aan de Geul in the province of Limburg.
The station is still in use as a stop on the Heuvelland Line between Maastricht and Heerlen. Now almost 170 years old, the building is a national heritage site owned by NS Dutch Railways and the railway management company ProRail.
The latest addition to the collection was presented to local mayor Daan Prevoo by KLM President & CEO Marjan Rintel at a reception held in front of the station building, attended by several hundred guests.
The castle-like station building was designed by architect Jacob Enschedé in early English Gothic Revival style, with corner towers and battlements, which was in keeping with the preferred style of the sumptuous spas for which Valkenburg is famous. The station was taken into operation almost 170 years ago, on 23 October 1853, as a stop on the first international rail link between Maastricht and Aachen.
Daan Prevoo, Mayor of Valkenburg aan de Geul said:
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 honour to celebrate the bond between Valkenburg aan de Geul and KLM.
KLM CEO Marjan Rintel said:
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.
Wouter Koolmees, CEO of NS Dutch Railways added:
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 favourite among train passengers, and I am sure KLM passengers will delight in this beautiful building.
John Voppen, CEO of ProRail concluded:
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 neighbouring 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.”
More to collect
For those of you who want to collect, this is the third building 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, while No. 84, presented in 2003, is a replica of De Oude Munt Tavern located at No. 7 Muntpromenade in Weert.
These have been offered on flights since the 1950s, they are filled with Bols Jenever Gin. They are offered to World Business Class passengers on intercontinental flights.
And there’s more than an active collectors market for them.
Since 1994, the house numbers have kept pace with KLM’s age, with a new miniature being added to the collection every year to mark KLM’s anniversary on 7 October.
With the passenger experience sometimes limited in gifts (amenity bags being the easiest things, message pillows if you’re a certain burgundy Middle Eastern airline), it is heartening to see this tradition continue.
And even if you don’t drink the gin, there’s a wonderful memory of your flight.
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