I’m Thinking Of Buying KLM Dutch Houses…

Filed Under: KLM

I’m not sure if this is actually a great idea, or if I’ve just spent too much time not traveling, and am now trying to bring the airline experience home.

Turning your home into an avgeek shrine vs. staying married

If I were single and had a home, it would probably (objectively) look pretty awful. It would have a kitschy airline theme, and decorations would include Lufthansa rubber ducks, airplane models, Rimowa amenity kits, EVA Air Hello Kitty goodies, and airline stuffed animals.

Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it — Ford has essentially forbidden that from happening. He graciously allows me to keep some Rimowa amenity kits and airline stuffed animals in a closet. 😉

We can agree on the KLM Dutch houses

Ford and I have finally found something we can agree on when it comes to appropriate avgeek decorations — specifically, KLM houses. Tiffany has written about the history of these houses before, as it’s such a cute concept. You get one at the end of very KLM World Business Class flight, and it’s a nice memory of the experience.

There are 100 different houses, and some selection of them is available on each flight. I have a few of these next to my bed, and I know a lot of people are serious about collecting them.

Ford and I have agreed that if I collect more of these we can find a nice place to display them in the open. I’m not sure if he realizes there are 100 different ones, but he’ll find out soon enough, I’m sure…

Buying KLM houses online

I think it would be a lot more fun to collect all these houses from flying, but the reality is that I’m not going to take 100 KLM long haul business class flights anytime soon (let alone any flights at all, for that matter).

What’s interesting is that you can buy KLM houses online. They’re not for sale directly from KLM, but there are lots of other sources. In addition to them being available on Ebay, best I can tell there are a couple of websites dedicated specifically to selling these houses, including:

They sell each house individually, or they sell them in collections. The latter website has the bundle that interests me most, as they sell the complete set of all 100 houses for €1,500.

Obviously that’s a lot of money to spend on airline memorabilia, but then again, I guess paying €15 per house is significantly less than you’d pay taking all those business class flights.

While I’m not quite ready to pull the trigger, I’m curious if anyone is actually familiar with these websites dedicated to selling KLM houses:

  • How are they getting these houses, and are these real, official KLM ones? Are they getting them from the same factory, buying them from KLM, buying them from passengers who pick them up, or what?
  • Do they actually still have the gin in the houses? Not that I want to drink it, I’m just curious about the logistics, since these would be shipped internationally.
  • Is there another option I’m overlooking for acquiring all the houses that’s better/cheaper?
  • Since the 100 houses have been manufactured over such a long period, do they actually all have the same color scheme/do they look good together? The pictures online make them look like they might be slightly different, but that could also just be filters and backgrounds.

Bottom line

I love the concept of KLM’s Dutch houses, as it’s such a nice parting gift on long haul KLM flights. I also think it’s one of the few airline related gimmicks that can actually be displayed in a fairly nice way.

Has anyone purchased KLM houses online, and if so, what was your experience like? I’m also curious which OMAAT reader has the most KLM houses!

Comments
  1. I upgraded my daughter to KLM business a couple of years ago and she got a house. Ended up selling it for about 38 Euros. It did have the gin in it and she said it was very good. She lives in Amersfoort (formerly Utrecht) and said you can always find these on their version of Craig’s List or at second-hand stores.

  2. I got a few on planes but at garage sales one day came across a box of 50. Bought maybe ten of them for about $15. Maybe go on the hunt when the world reopens?

  3. Buying them is cheating.

    But yes they look good together – it’s traditional blue delftware that the Dutch have produced for centuries. In the lounge at ams they have the full set; they look great.

  4. Think my Grandma has about 20 of them. KLM used to be the best option for Latin America from the UK until BA added more countries.

    She refuses to drink them though!

  5. I have 13 of them on display. My dad got them from his business trips many years ago, but as many of those flights were to Saudi Arabia, there was no gin in them! They have a little sticker underneath explaining this.

  6. I’ve never flown KLM but have bought a few of these from ebay for between £5 and £10 each. I just think they are cute. I guess some regular KLM travelers sell them just as they might sell an amenity kit. Some of them have arrived empty, others have arrived with the wax seal intact and gin inside.

  7. If I lived in a house I’d collect them too but I live in a small apt and simply do not have the room. My friend collects them and I don’t know if he has the entire collection but I do know he specifically flies at least 1 KLM longhaul flight in October each year just to get the latest KLM delft house.

  8. It’s not just houses that KLM has given-out over the years. Sometimes special Delft tiles are offered. I flew KLM on 30 April 1980, the day Beatrix (the current king’s mother) officially became queen. I still have the blue & white tile, which features portraits of both Queen Beatrix, and her mother, Queen Juliana.

  9. Just a thought: it’s way easier to just drop €1500 to get the whole set, but it might be more fun to try and collect them one by one, via eBay or other sources. It’ll feel a lot more like a “collection” than it will feel like just another bunch of stuff in your house.

  10. Here’s my take:

    1. Don’t drink the jenever (Dutch gin) unless it’s immediately coming off the plane. The wax sealed cork is shoddy, so the sterility of content is not guaranteed.

    2. You can find them on eBay in manageable batches of less than 10 units at reasonable prices (low prices are offset by high handling/shipping cost to evade eBay fees). But on estate/yard/garage sales, you have more bargaining power.

    3. The Crown Lounge in AMS (#52 international, not #42 Schengen) offers a swap program. Sealed new ones for sealed units, empty/chipped ones for empty/imperfect ones. Even if you don’t have access to get into the lounge, the staff will escort you to the swap desk.

    4. Every miniature is an actual building in the Netherlands. My faves are #47 Anne Frank House and #48 Rembrandt House. Half the collection are actual buildings in Amsterdam.

    5. Some Middle Eastern routes have empty ceramic houses due to alcohol restrictions. In the past (when smoking was allowed in cabin), these houses have a hollow back that serves as an ashtray with a notch to hold the cigarette.

    6. Individual ceramic miniatures are available for sale at retail Delft ceramic stores all over the Netherlands. They are overpriced.

    7. KLM debuts one house on 07OCT every year on their anniversary. In 1994, they produced a batch of new generic Dutch houses to catch up to their anniversary year. Now, they are synchronized. The centennial edition debuted in October 2019.

    8. The owner of the actual building traditionally gets the first miniature, complete with a presentation ceremony.

  11. I designate one room as woman-cave full of airline memorabilia. My husband was encouraging me to buy plane models to put on top of the display cabinets, but I resisted. I have display of amenity kits, hotel souvenirs and related items. Also have some Conrad toys in another room. Don’t have any KLM houses, never flew on KLM business longhaul. If you want them, just check Ebay. There’s plenty of airline tat on Ebay UK, must be similar in USA.

    I like to go to my woman-cave and look at that stuff, especially now.

  12. I have about 20 from flights with KLM. I had them displayed on a shelf in a hallway, and one day the shelf came crashing down. About half of them shattered and I was devastated. Luckily, I have KLM’s app and was able to know exactly which ones I was missing. I went to a Delft Blue gift shop in the city center of Amsterdam to replace the exact ones (Heinen Delfts Blauw), just checked their website and don’t see them on their online store, though. I think you would be fine buying online, as lots of people don’t care to collect them unless they are enthusiasts or Dutch. And it’s easy to tell the true KLM houses from the others. Pro tip, when flying KLM, be the last off in business class and you can pick up extras that people didn’t care to take with them. Always shocks me, but it never fails to find at least one. Veel succes!

  13. I don’t think the “complete” set being sold by klmhouses.com is actually complete. There are several miniatures that were produced in very limited quantities and/or for very limited periods of time. Some of them, I believe, were (are?) only offered to newlyweds flying on their honeymoon. The Palace on Dam Square is the hardest one, I think. Klmhouses.com is selling that one alone for EUR 500 (https://www.klmhouses.com/specials/207-palace.html).

  14. I’ve tossed hundreds of items accumulated in biz class over the years. The only items I’ve kept are Finnair Marrimeko kits and one little house from my once ever KLM flight. I keep it in a china cabinet as a reminder of a lovely trip from JNB to AMS.

  15. You’ve made a great pick, Lucky. They are just beautiful! They’re real Delft. Each one is different, some tall, some wide, some narrow. My wife sees them as lovely ceramics. I have 18 on display in our bedroom. I picked up maybe 4 or 5 on flights and the rest on Ebay. The bottom is marked “Blue Delft’s exclusively made for KLM by BOLS Royal Distilleries Holland. If they bring you joy, why not?

  16. Buying is cheating, I agree with others here!

    Also, aside from the toothpaste I haven’t used the amenity bag either!

  17. I have 72 houses right now. Most of them I got from my grandfather. I also have some tiles that KLM gave away in business class when they had a first class.

  18. klmhouses.com is totally reliable!!!! The vendor is our neighbor just outside of Amsterdam. We have bought a number of houses from him from his personal location and also from outdoor markets. These are all legit and have Dutch jenever (gin) in them. Just write [email protected] with your questions.

  19. I’m amused at how some people feel it within their authority to construct social rules about how other people should behave in the collection of stuff that the rule makers will never pay for, maintain, or enjoy themselves. Not only do they make up a rule, but they then pronounce the judgment of “cheat” on anyone that violates their imaginary rule. If you like the houses enough to collect them, then acquire them however you prefer. But please don’t tell us if you buy them outright or the control freaks will have a bad day.

  20. For a truly authentic American Airlines experience they will begin making bobbleheads modeled after real employees that just scream at you nonstop. It will feel like you’re always in the boarding area of a major airport serviced by AA.

  21. Hi Ben,

    I’ll buy you those 100 houses if you give me all of your Rimowa amenity kits? There’s a deal to be done here. Cheers. Mark

  22. Try charity shops or sales. I first leaned about the houses years back at an American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Pleasanton, CA. They had about a dozen priced under $10 each. I wanted to buy them but hesitated. I have never seen them again, ever! I love learning and collecting.

  23. Ben – live your best life! If it would make you (and Ford) happy to buy them, then just do it!

  24. I definitely understand your choice.

    I love the walls of KLM houses in Crown Lounge 52. My collection is smaller but I’d love to build a similar wall in my house.

    Alternative option. Get a postbox address and let your readers send you various houses.

    I’ll be willing to send you one of my 8 as a thank you for the blog

  25. I laughed so hard when I see this.

    “Buying them is cheating”

    There are things socialist would never understand.

  26. Next time you are in Amsterdam, visit Kramer Kunst & Antiek at Prinsengracht 807. This attractive little shop is run by the brothers Sebastiaan and Roeland Kramer, possibly the most fanatical collectors of KLM Houses in the world. It’s less than 10 minutes walk from the Andaz.

    You can also take a KLM Houses Walking Tour.

  27. I wish they were stamped with the date they were made. I got two from my grandma (numbers 22 and 82) and I have no idea how old they are. My guess is they’re at least 20 years old but it’s sad to not know exactly.

  28. My husband has worked in Aviation his entire life, he has say, several (maybe lots) of aircraft models (the ones the manufacturers make and give away). I used fishing line to hang them from his home office ceiling (cup hooks in the ceiling) to look like they were flying. I think it looks great, and he likes it.

  29. I have around 50, and also got one that was given only on the day the king was coronated, it is the Royal Palace. That is really a collection item, I have ssen them priced 400€ in Ebay. I made a special display for them, wish I could post a picture. Some were duplicated, but if they are in good condition and with the liquor intact, you can trade it in the Executive Launch in Schiphol.

  30. I had a collection of 46 houses that I sold on eBay last year for USD 246.00. Only half still had gin in them. The gin in the rest of them evaporated through the cork and wax seal over the years. There are fakes out there but legitimate listings will have good pictures of the house along with a photo of the back and bottom showing the number and makers mark.

    Good luck!

  31. 1) Buying them would be cheating, whats the fun in buying all 100 at once and then just piling them in ur living room? Personally, id just collect them, but you do you boo

    2) CAN YOU PLEASE GIVEAWAY A RIMOWA AMENITY KIT TO YOUR LOYAL READER (ME!) THANK U !! 🙂

  32. I love these too and have 5 from flights taken so far. I really like KLM anyway and they are added value.

  33. These lovely mementos should be earned, not bought elsewhere. Over the years my wife and I have accumulated 46, and have a custom made cabinet to display them. We don’t save much else (donate amenity kits to organizations for the homeless). We take the list of already-earned houses when we travel, and have exchanged a couple at AMS when we ended up with duplicates. I’d attach a photo if it were allowed. KLM is a great airline.

  34. I could never figure out how to open the houses and get the liquor out without breaking the house. Any tips from all of you experts?

  35. Ok readers – figure out a way we can send our houses directly to Ben and Ford.
    I will be the first to Fedex my three.
    It’s time we let go, with our appreciation to Ben.

  36. OT but saving amenity keeps can be a literal lifesaver. When I was scrambling for masks I remembered I have a stash of ANA and JAL kits that have masks!

    JAL’s kits are now from Porsche Design, though I still prefer Rimowa kits in general.

  37. So you probably don’t want to know that I was given a bag of items from Singapore Airlines when I repatriated to Australia. The FA was so excited to give it to me. It included the teddy bear and a whole heap of other “stuff”. I wanted to say “no” – cause um so not me – I could not though, as he was so excited. I gave away the bear to a friends child and the rest ended up in the bin (trash). I do want to fly ANA to get a Rimowa amenity kit though.

  38. I flew my wife to Uganda via AMS a few years back to visit her sister there. She got four…one on each leg. How many did I get for buying her ticket? One! Love it though. Originally had gin in it, but has long since evaporated. Still sealed up though…must have a bad seal.

  39. Hello Jason… I have almost the entire collection with doubles. Is there any number in particular you’d like? Consider it a Canadian token of appreciation from a fellow geek. Stay Lucky 🙂
    Cheers, M/YEG

  40. Lucky: I’m a collector of other stuff (coins and banknotes) and the KLM houses have always intrigued me. I’m secretly pleased that the houses haven’t become so valuable that they are nit-picked over wrt condition, etc.

    Instead of buying the entire set (which feels like a purchase of consumer goods), maybe consider collecting along a theme (buildings you’ve visited, buildings in cities you’ve visited, … )

    Also, consider where you would store these … the roof of each house is textured with the shingling, etc., and those are kinda a pain to dust. They’ll each need individual attention, so the way forward here is to use some sort of storage cabinet where you can see the houses without them getting dusty.

  41. @Belinda

    Delta kits have hand sanitizers too. Funny enough I did see people using eye shades as face masks too.

    @Henry
    I collect coins and banknotes too, but probably not in the same way as you do. I keep most them in the bank. 🙂 I collected baseball cards long enough to realize this was the scam of the century.

  42. They don’t appeal to me. I offer them to seat mates, if they show any enthusiasm for the wretched things ( unfortunately that can lead to interminable monologue about which ones they have and which are the holy grail). But they are grateful. To each his own….

  43. After about two dozen KLM flights I kept only one house. It’s enough. It consider it a huge environmental waste.

    Many here may disapprove, but I also do not take amenity kits home, often I do not even open them unless I forgot my toothbrush, mask or hand creme.

  44. Hello Ben,

    I can sent you number 9 and 24. They are empty due to customs regulations. You don’t have to pay for the houses. Please sent me a private email with address details.

    Findest Regards,

    Frank
    KLM flight attendant
    The Netherlands

  45. My parents used to work for KLM (lifelong employees). Part of the job included flying very frequently on a so called standby ticket.
    This, depending on rank, would get you the best empty seat in the plane. As a result, flying for work could range from a spare crew seat to business class.
    We had over a hundred houses, multiple duplicates, by the time they left the company.
    As far as i’m aware, they are still handed out with the bols gin inside, with the exception of houses handed out empty on certain flights to countries where alcohol consumption is prohibited.
    There are several production runs of these same 100 houses, manufactured in different countries over time. The total amount of houses has usually tracked the anniversaries of the company, our families flight activity with the airline places the bulk of our collection with the initial 75.
    Note that on the open market, there are also houses ‘Unofficially’ manufactured by the former suppliers to KLM, these tend not to be filled with gin, and are not adorned with the royal KLM logo.
    The older mfg houses could sometimes have porous ceramics and leak out the gin. Normally, to get the gin out, melt the wax and attempt to use a corkscrew or more narrow kitchen utensils to extract the cork.

  46. @Bernardo

    Can’t remember the last time I saw anyone collect steak anywhere including on an airplane.
    You can have my left over porterhouse bones.

  47. I get it, Ben. I, too, have looked at buying these on eBay. I didn’t know about the two websites so thank you for that information. (And to KK for the encyclopedic information, above.)

    We have a mutual friend who has quite a few of these displayed above his kitchen cabinets and they look great. Good luck finding some good ones.

    I have to say, though, I don’t get the fascination with Rimowa amenity kits. What on earth are they good for once you deplane?

  48. I have quite a few that i cherish..all from flights that I had a long time ago. The gin has evaporated in all of them save one…Most of the corks are crumbled..but I love the delft and I have them in front of books on a shelf and they look great. have them in front of some travel books. I had no idea that they were that collectible. Maybe that is my next trip to Africa or my winning lottery ticket. 🙂 Have to check. hahahahahahahahaha

  49. Have the full 100 house collection and then a few doubles. Just over 135 houses overall collected. This is an absolutely cherished collection at our home.

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