KLM Royal Dutch Airlines celebrates its 96th anniversary today and in true tradition, introduced its latest Delftware miniature. The choice for KLM’s 96th house went to the Hamel House in Gorinchem.
Pieter Elbers, KLM President & CEO presented the first new 96th house to Mr. Piet IJssels, Chairman of the Hamel Foundation and Mr. Jong-hyun Choe, the South Korean Ambassador.
“For me, the Hamel House symbolizes the special relationship shared between the Netherlands and South Korea,” said Pieter Elbers. ”Personally, while working for KLM in Japan and South Korea, I developed close ties with this extraordinary country. I’m therefore very pleased with our choice for house number 96.”
KLM has been flying to South Korea since 1984 and currently operates daily service between Amsterdam and Seoul.
KLM house no. 96: the Hamel House
The Hamel House was reconstructed in Hendrick Homel’s birthplace to bring the historic tale of Gorinchem’s naval hero to life visually. It’s not only a museum, it’s also a place where the Dutch and Korean cultures merge.
Hendrick Hamel (Gorinchem, 1630 – 1692) was a Dutch seafarer. In 1653 his ship, the ‘Sperwer’, became wrecked off the coast of the Korean island of Jeju. The survivors were not allowed to leave the country because the Korean king was afraid that information about Korea would get out to the rest of the world. Only after thirteen years, did Hendrick Hamel succeed in escaping, along with seven others.
Hamel kept a detailed journal of his time in Korea, which served as the only source of information about Korea at that time in Europe. Because of his stories the country became known in Europe. Koreans are still proud of this today. Hamel became well known in Korea and this earned him great respect.
KLM’s Delftware miniatures
The houses are given as exclusive gifts to KLM passengers traveling in World Business Class on intercontinental flights and have become a much-coveted collector’s item worldwide.
KLM began giving Delftware miniatures on board in the 1950s. The houses are replicas of exceptional buildings in the Netherlands and are filled with Dutch gin, also known as genever. The number of houses in the collection has corresponded with KLM’s age since 1994. A new house has been added to the collection on October 7th each year thereafter. The houses are presented to passengers traveling in World Business Class on intercontinental flights.
KLM World Business Class
In 2013, top Dutch industrial designer Hella Jongerius reconceived the interior of KLM’s World Business Class cabin to create an inviting space where passengers are made to feel at home with full-flat seats, in-seat power, privacy canopies, comfort kits and personal entertainment systems with 17 inch screens.
The new seats offer a 20 percent general increase in space, and provide passengers with their own individual area – conducive for work, play or relaxation. The carpet in the cabin is made from recycled flight attendant uniforms, used to create the blue design work. Additionally, Scottish sheep wool is incorporated into the design of the cabin carpet, which until recently was going to be waste material. KLM is the first airline in aviation history to use cradle to cradle carpet.