KLM celebrates birthday with unveiling house 103 in Aruba

“I don’t know whether KLM employees could have imagined, when they started in 1919, that KLM’s birthday would still be celebrated 103 years later. This time even on beautiful Aruba, where we have been flying to for almost fifty years and where we celebrate the start of one hundred years of aviation on the island today. As KLM, we have experienced many highs and lows in the past century. We have always celebrated our birthday on October 7, because there is a good reason to do so: KLM is a wonderful company that connects the Netherlands with the world. We can be proud of that,” said Rintel.

Historic Cottage
About house 103: this time the choice was made for the miniature version of a house that is located in a special location: the house of the Ecury family in Aruba. Next year, Aruba will celebrate 100 years of aviation on the island, and the house — which is now part of the National Archaeological Museum of Aruba — stands close to where the first plane landed. In addition, the Ecury family has been instrumental in the development of aviation on the island. The family enjoyed great social and business esteem.

Their son Nicasio ‘Dundun’ Ecury built his business empire from here and played an important role in the development of aviation on the island. His son Boy Ecury went to study in the Netherlands and became a resistance hero during the Second World War. In 1944 he was betrayed and executed. Since 2009 the house is part of the National Archaeological Museum of Aruba. The centerpiece of the museum is the 1929 building with a facade featuring classical elements, Caribbean gingerbread details and local decorative elements. The architect, Dada Picus, created a harmonious whole in a unique and stately way.

“We are extremely proud of our cultural heritage and are therefore very honored that this iconic mansion, the Ecury complex, has been chosen as KLM’s next miniature home. We are very honored that Aruba’s cultural heritage will now travel to all KLM destinations worldwide,” said Agustin Vrolijk, Acting Governor of Aruba.

Long relationship between KLM and Aruba
In December 1934 the ‘Snip’, a three-engined KLM-Fokker F.XVIII, flew in seven days from Amsterdam via Marseille, Alicante, Casablanca, Porto Praia, Paramaribo and La Guaria to Curaçao. This first transatlantic flight of KLM was technically only possible with several intermediate stops, an adapted cabin and without passengers. The flight was intended to station an aircraft in the Antilles. On December 23, the ‘Snip’ made her first touch down in Aruba.

On January 19, 1935, the opening flight of the regular air service Curaçao – Aruba took place. This was the first scheduled service of the KLM West Indies Company (WIB). On February 11, 1974, a fixed, direct connection was established between Amsterdam and Aruba, which now runs daily.

One hundred years of aviation in Aruba
Next year it will be 100 years since the first plane landed in Aruba. Meanwhile, aviation has provided a strong connection between Aruba and the rest of the world. This has a major impact on the local economy, which now largely relies on tourism. Aruba Airport now receives approximately 2.5 million travelers per year.

“Our celebration of one hundred years of aviation in Aruba in 2023 could not have started better than with this gift from KLM – adding an Aruban miniature house to their collection. We are very proud of the choice made for the Ecury Huisje as one of Aruba’s most treasured heritage sites. This house will bring an Aruban touch to KLM’s large collection of miniature houses, protect and promote the importance of our cultural heritage and as such contribute to the cultural goal of sustainable development for the island,” said Joost Meijs, Aruba Airport’s Dutch CEO. .


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