KLM Royal Dutch Airlines celebrated its 104th anniversary on 7 October in traditional fashion, presenting the latest addition to its collection of Delftware replicas of buildings with a unique history. This new miniature depicts the oldest station building in the Netherlands, which is in Valkenburg aan de Geul in the province of Limburg. The station is still in use as a stop on the Heuvelland Line between Maastricht and Heerlen. Now almost 170 years old, the building is a national heritage site owned by NS Dutch Railways and the railway management company ProRail.
“I am thrilled that Valkenburg aan de Geul, with its unique marlstone station, is now part of KLM’s superb Delftware collection. Valkenburg is all about hospitality, history, beauty, and quality. I’m very proud of this acknowledgment, which reflects KLM’s identity as a reliable and customer-friendly airline. I consider it an honour to celebrate the bond between Valkenburg aan de Geul and KLM,” Daan Prevoo, Mayor of Valkenburg aan de Geul says.
According to a station experience monitor run by NS Dutch Railways and ProRail, Valkenburg Station is among the top three favourites in the Netherlands, based on scores given by passengers last year. KLM chose to add the station to its collection partly to celebrate the important role that railways have always played in the accessibility of the Netherlands. KLM is striving to make broader use of air-rail options.
The station is part of the building’s collection of NS Dutch Railways and ProRail, consisting of 50 stations that each have their own unique architectural character, which is worth retaining and making accessible to the public.
“In my opinion, it’s perfect that – in this age where train and aircraft are complementing each other more closely – one of the most beautiful stations in the country has been added to KLM’s collection of Delftware replicas. For 170 years, Valkenburg Station has been a firm favourite among train passengers, and I am sure KLM passengers will delight in this beautiful building,” Wouter Koolmees, CEO of NS Dutch Railways says.
“It’s wonderful that Valkenburg Station, the oldest station building in the Netherlands, has been chosen as the latest addition to KLM’s collection. This captures how air and rail traffic are connecting with one another. As guardians of this station, we’re also very proud because we feel it is an iconic symbol of sustainability. For many years, we have taken good care of the station here in Valkenburg, which is so close to neighbouring countries. Many nationalities pass through our town by train. The fact that replicas of our station will now also be presented to international airline passengers is a great tribute,” John Voppen, CEO of ProRail adds.
The station in Valkenburg aan de Geul is the third building in the province of Limburg that KLM has added to its collection of Delftware miniatures. Presented in 2001, Miniature No. 82 is a replica of Huys op de Jeker located at No. 5 Bonnefantenstraat in Maastricht, while No. 84, presented in 2003, is a replica of De Oude Munt Tavern located at No. 7 Muntpromenade in Weert.
Since the 1950s, KLM has presented Delftware miniature houses filled with Bols Jenever to its World Business Class passengers on intercontinental flights. These replicas of classic Dutch houses with a special history are prized collector’s items. Since 1994, the house numbers have kept pace with KLM’s age, with a new miniature being added to the collection every year to mark KLM’s anniversary on 7 October.