KLM celebrated 103 years since its foundation and presented the 103rd traditional house in miniature Delftware KLM
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is celebrating its 103rd anniversary today, traditionally accompanied by the unveiling of a new Delftware miniature house. This year's miniature is a replica of a house in a very special place: the home of the Ecury family in Aruba. KLM is the oldest airline in the world which still flies under the name since its establishment.
Next year, Aruba will mark 100 years of aviation on the island, and Casa Ecury—now part of the Aruba National Museum of Archeology—is close to where the first plane landed. In addition, the Ecury family played a significant role in the development of aviation on the island.
KLM first flew to Aruba almost 90 years ago and has made the island its operational hub for airline services in the Caribbean. Since 1974, KLM began operating regular services between Amsterdam and Aruba, currently operating daily flights.
The traditional KLM miniature house will be handed over to Aruba's Acting Governor Agustin Vrolijk and the Ecury family this evening (20:00 p.m. Aruba local time) by Marjan Rintel, President and CEO of KLM.
Agustin Vrolijk, interim governor of Aruba: "Congratulations to KLM on its 103rd anniversary. We are extremely proud of our cultural heritage and therefore very honored that this iconic mansion, the Ecury complex, has been chosen to be the next home in KLM's miniatures collection.”
Marjan Rintel, CEO and President of KLM: "I don't know if KLM's founders could have imagined in 1919 that we would continue to celebrate the airline's anniversary 103 years later. This year we are doing it in a wonderful island – Aruba, where we have been flying for almost 50 years and where today we celebrate the beginning of 100 years of aviation on the island.
KLM has had many ups and downs over the last century, but we have always marked our anniversary on 7 October because we want to continue to celebrate KLM, a reputable company that connects the Netherlands to the world. We can be proud of that."
House of Ecury
The house is located in Oranjestad and was built in 1929, close to where the first plane landed on the island almost 100 years ago. It was the home of the esteemed Ecury family, who enjoyed great prestige in society and business. Son Nicasio "Dundun" Ecury built his business empire here and played an important role in the development of aviation on the island. His son, Boy Ecury, studied in the Netherlands and became a hero of the Resistance during World War II. In 1944 he was extradited and executed.
Since 2009, Casa Ecury has been part of the National Archaeological Museum of Aruba.
The centerpiece of the museum is the 1929 building, with a classical facade, Caribbean gingerbread details and local decorative elements. This imposing and harmonious ensemble is a unique creation of the architect Dada Picus.
1934: KLM lands on Aruba for the first time
In December 1934, a three-engined KLM Fokker F-XVIII, christened "Snip", flew from Amsterdam to Curaçao in seven days, with stops in Marseille, Alicante, Casablanca, Porto Praia, Paramaribo and La Guaria. This was KLM's first transatlantic flight and was only technically possible due to layovers, changes to the aircraft cabin and the absence of passengers. The purpose of the flight was to land an aircraft in the Antilles. Snip landed on Aruba for the first time on December 23rd. Regular service between Curaçao and Aruba began on 19 January 1935. This was the first flight operated by the West-Indian division (WIB) of KLM. KLM began operating a regular direct flight between Amsterdam and Aruba on February 11, 1974.
100 years of aviation in Aruba
Next year will be 100 years since the first plane landed in Aruba. Aviation has since created a strong connection between Aruba - also known as the "Happy Island" - with the rest of the world. This has a major impact on the local economy, which is now largely based on tourism. Aruba Airport receives approximately 2,5 million travelers per year, with considerable growth over the years.
About KLM Delft blue houses
Since the 1950s, KLM has distributed Delft Blue cases filled with Bols Jenever to World Business Class passengers during intercontinental flights. The cottages, sought-after collectibles, have a special history and are miniature versions of buildings in the Netherlands and the Dutch islands. Since 1994, the number of houses has been synchronized with the age of KLM. Since then, every year on KLM's anniversary on October 7, a new specimen has been added to the collection.