December 23, 2013

Look behind 94 gables of KLM’s Delftware houses

Filed under: Architecture,History by Branko Collin @ 10:43 am

sterke-verhalen-mark-zegelingLast October Mark Zegeling published a book called Sterke Verhalen voor bij de Borrel (tall tales to drink to) in which he explores the houses that KLM’s famous Delftware replicas are based on.

Dutch airline KLM gives away small Delftware bottles (produced in Hong Kong) to its business class passengers on long-haul flights. These bottles are shaped like classic Dutch houses and filled with jenever. So far 94 of them have been produced and now someone has written an extensive book on the history of the real houses that form the basis of KLM’s gifts. describes the book as follows: “[it] combines the best anecdotes and tallest tales about the life behind those gables. […] It discusses William of Orange’s closest friends, Rembrandt’s sales techniques, Mata Hari’s bed, a golden treasure in a garden and human fat as a miracle cure. […] Illustrated using more than 1,700 photos and paintings from various museums.”

The book appears to be self-published and is available, amongst others, from the author’s website.

Earlier we wrote about a KLM website which also tells the story of the airliner’s Delftware houses, although the site does so (from what I can tell) in less detail than the book.

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September 16, 2013

The Netherlands has finally become a police state

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:18 pm

Rhetoric? Offensive sloganeering? Have I finally gone off the deep end? No, I am just getting a pun in there. Volkskrant reported last Saturday that the biggest employer in the Netherlands is the police.

In 2012 the police provided jobs to 63,778 people. They passed the military which was the biggest employer in 2011, but had to cut down their numbers due to budget cuts.

The top 5 large employers in the Netherlands are:

  • The police, 63,778 employees
  • The military, 61,749 employees
  • Rabobank, 41,402 employees
  • PostNL, 33,284 employees
  • Air France-KLM, 31,189 employees

According to Volkskrant their top 100 of companies employs about 1 million people in the Netherlands. Their distribution follows a power curve, the top ten employs a third of that million. According to Statistics Netherlands there were 8.68 million people working in the Netherlands in 2012 and 0.66 million unemployed citizens. The self-employed made up 1.25 million of people working. And there were 9.24 million jobs in 2012.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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December 15, 2012

Best bosses give women equal career opportunities

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 3:52 pm

The best employers in the Netherlands give employees the feeling that they are appreciated, Effectory and VNU Vacature Media claim.

The two companies polled employees in 269 organisations. Employees in the companies that were rated the highest gave the biggest marks for the following qualities:

  • Being appreciated by the boss
  • Being able to balance work and private life
  • Women appreciated equal career opportunities
  • Clear goals for both the individual employees and the company
  • Feeling proud of the organisation
  • Customer care

The top three of the companies with 1,000 employees and more were:

  1. Stichting Buurtzorg Nederland
  2. KLM
  3. Vanderlande Industries

Stichting Buurtzorg Nederland, a home care foundation, won the Best Employer Award for the second year in a row. CEO Jos de Blok is a former nurse.

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December 6, 2011

KLM lets you choose who sits next to you

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 11:46 am

After spying on passengers using Twitter and Foursquare to offer them gifts last holiday season, KLM is planning to let people choose the passengers next to them on flights using social media. They call it ‘social seating’.

The idea is to check Facebook or LinkedIn when you check in to pick where you want to sit according to people’s profiles. KLM believes that would be a good call for business flights and making contacts.

As far as ordinary flights are concerned, I’d be more inclined to eliminate who I wouldn’t want beside me, including any type of person who takes up too much space or makes too much noise, be it tall, big, with small children or a loud mp3 player. Of course, nobody would have to allow this kind of linking to social media, as it could also be used for evil.

What if some strange man who accosts single women during flights sits next to me? He picked me, but I surely didn’t pick him. Or a thief. Just saying.

Great idea for business, but I can foresee a lot of issues for anyone who is tall, big and has small children.

(Link:, Photo of a Lufthansa plane at Schiphol)

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December 27, 2010

KLM spies on its passengers to give them gifts

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 3:56 pm

“First job, find KLM passengers who have checked into their flight via one of KLM’s Foursquare locations or left a message through Twitter. Second job, search their social profiles, get to know them in a, er, discreet manner, to think of a personalised gift.”

Free stuff is nice and I guess this is an interesting marketing campiagn, but it does make me feel uncomfortable and I don’t see the use of it. Of course, if you tweet what you do or tell people on Foursquare where you are, you can expect anyone to be able to read it. However, wouldn’t it be better if KLM or any airline for that matter could just serve you better in general?

Although the goal was to see how happiness spreads, all I can think of is all the hundreds of people that were stranded at Schiphol airport recently. No gift can make up for that.

(Link: aboutfoursquare)

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December 7, 2010

An interactive history of KLM’s house-shaped genever bottles

Filed under: Architecture,Aviation,Design,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 1:29 pm

First you follow the link to the cute little Delft blue houses, and then you can click on any of the 91 bottles and find out what house it is and where. Most of them can be found in Amsterdam, but a few of them are from towns like Amersfoort, Delft, Breda and Schiedam.

I spontaneously clicked on number 81 and got ‘proeflokaal’ (roughly ‘tasting pub’) De Drie Fleschjes (The Three Bottles) in Amsterdam pictured above (here is what it looks like today). Ironically, it is a place to sample gin and have a drink.

What I thought was odd though is that there is the same house twice (11 and 23), another ‘proeflokaal’ in Amsterdam, Wijnand Fockink. I think the makers of the site made a mistake, as 90 is a much nicer number.

(Link and image:, via

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December 3, 2010

Direct flight Amsterdam-Miami to party using Twitter

Filed under: Aviation,Music by Orangemaster @ 11:03 am

Two dance music fans wanted to go to the Ultra Music dance festival in Miami in late March, but there were no direct flights to Miami in that period. The guys decided to challenge KLM on Twitter: if they could get 150 people for a flight, KLM would fly them to Miami. KLM agreed, but they had to have the people before 6 December. They started a website and got 285 people!

If this is not a creative use of Twitter, I don’t know what is. It also sounds like a Christmas tale. Well, OK, a little bit like one.

(Link:, Photo of an unrelated Lufthansa Canadair regional jet 900 (or 700?) flying to Munich out of Schiphol airport)

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September 15, 2010

KLM offering gay getaway to UK residents

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 2:41 pm

“How hot are you on your gay capitals?” is the the slogan of a KLM promotional website, Guess the gay destination and you could win a trip to a gay capital. I’m going to try it first and then write the rest of my posting.

(time lapse, 2 min)

I got all 10 capitals right, they all had pictures of the skyline and a choice of three answers, so it was too easy and terribly cliché. I’m outing them for you: Amsterdam, New York, Rome, Vancouver, San Francisco, Barcelona, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Cape Town and Nice.


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September 23, 2009

KLM personnel to go nameless in style

Filed under: Aviation,Fashion,General by Orangemaster @ 4:07 pm

To protect the privacy of stewardesses (and stewards, I imagine), pilots and ground personnel, KLM has decided that they won’t be wearing any nametags anymore as of April 2010. Apparently, there’s no rush to protect them — odd. Their ‘title’ will still be displayed on a pin they’ll have to wear.

KLM personnel will also be getting new uniforms, as the ones stewardesses (and again stewards, I imagine) now wear date from 1990.

Yes, this is a silly picture of two co-pilots in an old DC-9 cockpit.


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August 21, 2009

Turning leftover airplane food into electricity

Filed under: Aviation,Food & Drink,Science,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 10:44 am

Dutch airline KLM is planning to use the leftovers of 50,000 airplane meals to produce electricity. The idea is to convert waste (refuse and food) into oil and then burn in a gas turbine at a new power station on Schiphol Airport grounds. A feasability study is currently being done and a decision will be made at the end of September.

With an investment of less than EUR 10 mln, the power station could process 20 tonnes of waste a day, which is enough to handle the leftover food. The turbine would then be able of providing electricity for 4,000 homes.


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