KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the world’s oldest international airline still operating under its original name, marked its 100th anniversary yesterday. This auspicious occasion was celebrated with a spectacular event, attended by the Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoesktra. He, along with customers, partners, Air France-KLM executives, and staff from various divisions, looked back on 100 years of KLM history and forward to a sustainable future.
Hangar 10 was the backdrop to the “KLM Experience”, where guests were treated to an impressive overview of KLM’s past, present and future. This included an in-depth look at KLM’s development over the decades and the role it played in international civil aviation.
“The fact that we are celebrating our 100th anniversary is not just testimony to a century of successful enterprise, innovation, and commerce, but also to the faith that customers and partners have in KLM. It is an ode to KLM’s aviation pioneers, who literally put civil aviation on the map worldwide. KLM is the oldest international airline still operating under its original name. We were the first airline to successfully pursue partnerships and alliances, after which many other countries and airlines followed our example. This has brought together hundreds of millions of people around the globe. As Albert Plesman put it: “The ocean of the air unites all people.” We may take pride in our long list of achievements and efforts over the past 100 years. And so we stand – energetic and confident – on the threshold of a new century. Filled with the same pioneering and enterprising spirit, we look forward, with optimism, to taking on the challenges of sustainability and innovation.” – Pieter Elbers, KLM President & CEO.
“You feel at home aboard a KLM aircraft. Wherever you are, when you’re with KLM, the Netherlands feels close by. Together with Schiphol, KLM is of great importance to our global connectivity and hence to employment opportunities in the Netherlands. The world is no longer the same as it was 100 years ago, but the pioneering spirit of Albert Plesman is still very much alive at the company. I wish KLM a wonderful centenary and a successful, innovative, jet-setting future, in which the company will join hands with Air France in achieving their superb share objective to become Europe’s best airline.” – Finance Minister of The Netherlands, Wopke Hoekstra.
KLM’s 100th Delftware miniature
In keeping with tradition, today KLM marked its anniversary with the presentation of a new Delftware miniature house; a moment eagerly awaited by faithful collectors all over the world. This year’s miniature is a replica of Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague, the home of King Willem-Alexander and his family. Today the first copy of KLM’s 100th Delftware miniature house was presented to Finance Minister Wopke Hoestra by KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers.
Huis ten Bosch Palace was built in the mid-17th century at the behest of Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange and his wife Amalia van Solms. It was extended in the first half of the 18th century by Prince Willem IV. After Willem I was crowned King of the Netherlands in 1815, the palace was regularly home to members of the Dutch royal family. Since January 2019, Huis ten Bosch Palace has been the residence of King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and their three daughters. The palace also serves as a ceremonial venue.
“To me, Huis ten Bosch Palace symbolises the special bond between KLM and the Netherlands and the fact that we have borne the predicate Royal for the past 100 years. It is, therefore, a point of pride and honour that our 100th Delftware miniature is a replica of this very special building.” – KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers
Since the 1950s, KLM has presented specially designed Delftware miniature houses to World Business Class passengers on intercontinental flights. The houses are replicas of monumental buildings throughout the Netherlands. The number of houses in the collection has kept pace with KLM’s anniversary since 1994, with new miniatures added to the collection on or around KLM’s anniversary on 7 October.
KLM will also mark its centenary with a special book titled Welcome Aboard – 100 years of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The first copy was presented by KLM’s current Board of Managing Directors, Pieter Elbers, René de Groot and Erik Swelheim, to three former KLM presidents, Pieter Bouw, Leo van Wijk and Peter Hartman.
KLM festivities everywhere
Today, KLM staff worldwide shared special treats in honour of our 100th anniversary. There was cake and a special message from Pieter Elbers. In addition, all KLM staff will receive the coveted 100th KLM Delftware miniature house and have been invited to attend the “KLM Experience”. Over the past weekend, KLM staff in their thousands were immersed in 100 years of KLM history. Many thousands more will gather this weekend, to undergo an unforgettable experience, featuring a wide array of events, shows, and activities.