Thursday, July 26, 2018

The KLM Houses in Gorinchem, NL

I wish you knew how many times Astrid and I both pinch ourselves about where we live, here in Gorinchem, NL.  How many times we've acknowledged that THIS is where we were destined to live in this whole wide world.

One of the gazillion reasons, as an example, is what you will see today with this public, outside exhibition of the KLM houses that were first shown in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.  They're now here where we live, from July 13 - August 10.

But I need to go back a bit into my past life when Donica, on her many-many flights on KLM, back-n-forth to The Netherlands, received miniature KLM houses for free in the World Business Class.  She collected them!

So, yes, I was very familiar with them and was delighted to see the much larger "miniatures" on exhibition here.  In fact KLM's 96th Delftware miniature was unveiled here at our Gorinchem exhibition:  the Hamel House.  That in itself is a long story that connects the Dutch with Korea.  That Hamel house is here in Gorinchem!

Anyway, after all that, here's what I want you to see:

There are supposedly 15 houses on display but 13 of them are here at our Lingehaven (Linge harbor).
[Addendum:  we have now found the 14th here as well.]
Coming in from town (a short walk from our apartment), we see the first 5.

Two more houses stand in front of the terrace of the Le Bon 'Apart restaurant across the street,
followed by another stretch of 4 houses, bringing us to 11.
(If you click on the restaurant link and just wait, it'll give you a video view of the harbor.)

Then you come to the inner lock of the Linge canal, on which I'm standing, looking into town.
On either side of the lock is another house, bringing the inner harbor total to 13.

Got it?  So here goes, in the order as given above:

Pulitzer Hotel, Amsterdam, opened in 1970

Dutch National Opera and Ballet, opened in 1986

Rode Hood, Amsterdam, a hat-making shop

Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, from 1915

Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam, on the UNESCO "Gentlemën's Canal

Meddens, an exclusive department store of men's and ladies' clothing, Amsterdam
(Astrid was a window dresser there from 1977-83.)

Hamelhuis, Gorinchem
(This is our city's claim to fame!)

Hotel Sofitel Legend the Grand, Amsterdam, opened in 1992

Coster Diamonds, Amsterdam, oldest diamond polishing factory

Japanmuseum Siebold House, Leiden

Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam, opened in 1885

Hotel Arena, Amsterdam

Hotel Estheréa, Amsterdam

Heineken Experience, Amsterdam, built in 1867

I'm quite sure there's a specific name to each house, which I may want to research further.
But for now, you get the idea.  These are the "life-sized" miniature KLM houses 
of historic buildings from all over The Netherlands.
[ADDENDUM:  I have now added all the names as well as the 14th house.]

To give scale to the size, I had Astrid go back with me one day.
Here you see different views of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet Theater house.

Here's the Hotel Estheréa.  How fun is that!

This way you can also see the inner harbor up close.
See the lock in the center above the foreground boat?  Yup.
It opens up to the Merwede river outside our city walls.

And you know me.  I have to put them all together for Facebook.

But now that I know there are two more, I will go look for them
and add them later.  I had no clue.
[ADDENDUM:  I hadn't yet found the 14th house when I made the above collage.
This past Sunday Astrid and I went back to look and found the Heineken house,
which I've now added to the above list.]

[ADDENDUM 2:  I heard back from a contact that says #15 is the INK Hotel in Amsterdam which was damaged in the Oosterpark and is now in the atelier.  It will be exhibited in the hotel soon.  
#16, the Koepelkerk, had the same problem and is ready to be transported to Hotel Renaissance
in Amsterdam where it will be exhibited.
Which is to say we weren't crazy after all...about not finding them here!] 

It's directly across the river from the Meddens and Hamel houses at the Le Bon 'Apart terrace.
How we missed it earlier I'll never know!

And when we realized what house was, in fact, the Hamelhuis, I decided to round out this post
with some info specific to Hamel, since he's from Gorinchem:

First of all, this statue of him stands further down the Linge, not far from our apartment.
Hendrick Hamel (1630-1692) was born in Gorinchem but spent 13 years in South Korea.
It's a story worth reading from the link if you have the time.

Also, we have the Hendrick Hamel Museum...his house, just a couple of blocks from our apartment.
Astrid was there years ago, and maybe now I'll go on Open Monument Day in September.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Remember the Memory Bricks (another reason why we love this city)?

We found the #00 Roll of Film outside the citadel wall,
thanks to a clue from someone on the Memory Brick Facebook page.
I have now added it to that post....
but #26 is still a mystery to everyone.  No one has found it yet!


  1. i adore miniature things! and those houses make me wish to be small too... you've seen my shadow boxes and know that i collected miniature things :)
    you know, have you ever seen the david lynch film 'elephant man'? hmmm, at least i think it was david lynch... anyway, the elephant man built a house about the size of these, with toothpicks i think
    thanks for sharing, i enjoyed your miniature tour

    1. The miniature KLM houses I'm used to, Elaine, are only about 3 inches tall, so these seem HUGE miniature to me, but still just as fun. Not ones to collect, however, of course. HA! I've always liked minatiures, too, and have my own shadow box. So fun. Thanks.

  2. This is just an amazing thing to do and I think it is an honour that they chose Gorinchem for this exhibition. I just read that in 2015 they used the Hamel House for one of the KLM-houses. We will look for the other two... and to know that I worked in the Meddens-House (former headquarters KLM in The Hague) (bottom 2nd from the right in the collage) makes it even more special. Again a beautiful post. IHVJ

    1. I definitely want to go back and get the names of all these houses and where they are, Astrid. I especially like that the Meddens house is where you used to work as a window dresser. WOW. That's a huge honor! Thanks.

  3. Those houses are lovely. I’d want to photograph all of them too.

    1. Exactly, Marie. I never mentioned in my post that KLM happens to be my favorite airline! :)

  4. Love reading about your "home town." Can't wait for you to find that #26!

    1. If ever you want to come back, Robin, we'll show you around where we live (which we actually missed the last time, as I recall). And yes, am so eager to find #26, along with many other hunters!

  5. These are quite fascinating. I read more about the small miniatures at I suppose these larger ones are marketing for KLM? :)

    You do live in a charming and desirable town! We love it.