Who doesn’t know KLM’s miniature houses? The ceramic KLM houses are gifts given to Business Class passengers on KLM flights and have become collectors’ items. But did you know that they have their origenevers with Rynbende?
Nowadays the houses contain genever with 35% alcohol (from Bols). They are basically bottles with a cork and a seal on them. Empty houses are given on flights to some countries where there are alcohol restrictions. They often bear a sticker clarifying this by referring to customs regulations. (“Empty due to modified regulations on this flight”) Sometimes these empty houses have a sealed cork sometimes they don’t.
Gift to the customer
KLM started issuing these miniature houses in 1952. Competition laws dictated that airlines were not allowed to give gifts to their customers. The bottles were therefore meant to be consumed on the plane, but passengers often took them home.
During this period, Rynbende was known for using (glass) figures as packageneverg for their genever. Bottles were already shaped into animals and houses. However, Delft blue pottery was – and still is – an international symbol of The Netherlands (and KLM), so Rynbende suggested filling Delft pottery houses with genever for KLM.
Rynbende, Henkes and Bols
It was a successful move. Several different houses followed. Some were filled with very old genever, others with Apricot Brandy, Cherry Brandy, Crème de Menthe and Orange Curaçao. All the drinks were from Rynbende.
After the Henkes company took over the Rynbende distillery, the houses were filled with Henkes genever. And when Henkes was subsequently taken over by Bols, it was Bols genever that filled the houses.
The Delft Blue KLM houses were made by Royal Goedewaagen. Goedewaagen was first located in Gouda, but moved to Nieuw-Buinen (Drenthe) in 1984 and is still going strong today.
KLM was founded on 7 October 1919. By 1993, 60 different ceramic houses had been issued. In 1994, when KLM celebrated its 75th anniversary, they released 15 new houses at once, bringeneverg the total to 75. So the number of different houses produced now equalled the age of the KLM company.
In fact, house #75 is the former KLM headquarters. Since then, a new house has come out every year on October 7.
Of course, now that Rynbende is back, we spoke to KLM. Their response: “What a great story! You guys have come a long way to revive the company. Rynbende is no stranger to us and we know they were the first party connected to our miniature houses. Our current genever supplier is Bols and we happy with the partnership.”
Perhaps sometime in the future, KLM cottages will once again be filled with Rynbende genever or maybe our genever/yenever will be sold exclusively on board KLM flights.
Rynbende Vintage Genever
Rynbende recently returned to the market. After an absence of almost 40 years, we are back with a Vintage Genever (old genever) called: The Mayor of Exploration. It is our ode to founder Simon Rynbende and a tribute to company director Job Kramer Freher. For more information, click here.