Since the 1950s, KLM Royal Dutch Airline presents each passenger in Business Class (on long haul flights) with a Delft Blue house as a gift. To date, the collection consist of exactly 100 miniature houses, 12 rare, precious Limited Editions and a number of specials. Avid collectors might like to know what their houses are worth*.
Dutch author Mark Zegeling is an undisputed authority on the KLM House Collection and the stories behind the real monuments . To provide some guidance and support to (aspiring) collectioneurs, his publishing company MarkMedia & Art conducted a comprehensive, global survey among readers of his books and collectionneurs worldwide.
In February 2020, the KLM House Index was released for a 2nd time (the first survey was published in 2016). You will find the most recent results and the average price of the Limited Editions and Specials at the bottom of this article. MarkMedia & Art operates independently from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
* For your information: we don’t trade nor buy miniatures and have never done so. There is no professional-relationship with any auction house, e-commerce platforms like eBay and Marktplaats, shops or traders of KLM miniature houses. All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only.
No. 100 in three variations
Each year, about 850,000 Delft Blue replicas are issued, filled with genever. 150,000 miniature houses remain empty for travelers to some destinations in the Middel East where alcohol is prohibited. In general, as long as the genever is still inside, the value of a normal house is higher than an empty one. Prices range from 5 euros to 30 euros for the latest numbers.
KLM house no. 100 was issued on October 7, 2019. The miniature released on the official launch party in Hangar 11 at Schiphol has the following text on the back: ‘In celebration of KLM’s 100th anniversary, KLM proudly offers you this special gift’. The price for this edition (no genever inside, no chimney on the rood) is about 50 euro. It was given to guests, business relations and more than 30.000 KLM employees. The ‘normal’ edition presented on board has no text on the back, only the number 100, a little chimney on the roof and a cork (to release the genever inside… please don’t ;-)). The average price is 25 euro. Without its content, this empty miniature no. 100 should cost you about 5 to 15 euro.
More than half of the miniatures are modelled after (canal) houses and landmark buildings in Amsterdam. Notable architecture from 29 other cities scattered around the Netherlands is represented as well. The selection process for a monument is quite secretive: airline executives and genever supplier Bols are said to take turns making the choice. Traditionally, it is the president of KLM who makes the final decision.
In addition to the regular release, there are now 12 Limited Editions and a number of specials (normal houses with a twist, given on a special occasion).
Frans Hals Museum
The first of the rare limited editions (not issued on board of KLM flights) is a replica of the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. The miniature was presented in 1962 to mark the occasion of a unique retrospective exhibition of the celebrated artist. Subsequent releases include replicas of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam (since 1986 in various editions) and the Weigh House at the Gouda cheese market (1995), both are treasured Dutch landmarks.
A lasting wedding present
The value of a Limited Edition lies not only in the sentimental significance of the buildings, but is related to stringent qualifying criteria. The Royal Palace Amsterdam piece, released in 1986, was presented to honeymooners traveling in Royal Class (the present-day World Business Class). Over the years, several other editions of the Royal Palace miniature were issued.
The largest version is about 50 cm wide, 27 cm tall and 11 cm deep. This marvelous king-size model is awarded only to winners of the KLM Open Golf Tournament (since 2004). Several golf profs have sold their Palace to collectioneurs.
On April 30, 2013, on the day Willem-Alexander ascended the throne to become king of the Netherlands, Business Class passengers who boarded an intercontinental KLM flight at Schiphol Airport were given a small edition of the Royal Palace as a souvenir to this day. Even more exclusive is the 360° version of the 17th-century edifice, with both front and rear facades, which KLM commissioned in the summer of 2014. This miniature is given by the president of KLM as a gift to diplomats, important (foreign) partners and high ranking guests.
Collector’s edition No. 8 (Royal Palace Het Loo) is only awarded to those who have flown World Business Class at least 60 times a year for 10 consecutive years, and having accumulated more than one-million air miles in KLM’s frequent-flyer program. The little blue and white palace model is presented to the Platinum-for-Life passenger on a silver platter at the end of the qualifying flight. And no, you can’t keep the silver. The bar may be set high, but 45 customers received this piece in the first year it was issued, so it is not unattainable!
The National Maritme Museum
Another collector’s item was issued on January 19, 2016. During the first six months of that year, the Netherlands holds the Presidency of the Council of European Union. The Limited Edition represents the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam, which was the venue for top formal and informal ministerial meetings.
Hermitage Museum Amsterdam
In 2018 a Delft Blue replica of the Hermitage Museum Amsterdam was issued on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Dutch Masters from the Hermitage’. Hundreds of years after being purchased by the Tsars of Russia, 67 works by 51 different Dutch Golden Age artists from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg where transported by KLM Cargo to the Netherlands for a brief time. The limited miniature edition of the Hermitage Museum Amsterdam commemorated this extraordinary transport.
Waldorf Astoria Hotel Amsterdam
House Marot on Herengracht in Amsterdam was made in 2019 in honor of Hilton’s 100th anniversary. The replica depicts the main entrance of Hotel Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam.
The Delft Blue replica of the Cincinnati Music Hall in Ohio is the 12th Limited Edition. The marvelous piece was presented by KLM president Pieter Elbers to General Electric on November 21, 2019, on the 100th anniversary of GE.
Below is the average value of 12 Limited Editions and variations, according to a global survey conducted in December 2019/January 2020.
1). Frans Hals Museum: 750- 900 euros
2a). Royal Palace Amsterdam (wedding gift, there are editions with a hexagon tower – 6 sides, and a octagonal tower – 8 sides): 250 euros
2b). small Royal Palace Amsterdam issued on April 30, 2013, the day Willem-Alexander was crowned as King of the Netherlands: 350 – 500 euros
2c). Royal Palace Amsterdam 360° version: 7,500
2d). Royal Palace Amsterdam (winner KLM Golf Open): 14,000 euros
3). The Weigh House Gouda: 200 – 300 euros
4). House ter Kleef (oldest inner tennis court of the world): 450 euros
5a). Hall of Knights/Ridderzaal (2009): 4,500 euros
5b). Hall of Knights/Ridderzaal (2018, more detailled): 7,000 euros
6). Royal Theater Carré in Amsterdam: 3,000 euros
7). Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam: 4,500 euros
8). Royal Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn: 12,500 euros
9. Maritime Museum Amsterdam: 500 euros
10. Hermitage Museum Amsterdam: 6,000 euros
11. Waldorf Astoria Hotel Amsterdam: 5,000 euros
12. Cincinatti Music Hall, Ohio: 8,500 euros
For more information: klmhouse-index @ markmedia.nl
Author Kingdom by the Sea,
A celebration of Dutch cultural heritage and architecture