4 Remarkable Photos From the KLM Archive

Lucky again. My search for exceptional images has uncovered four more gems in KLM’s historical archive. The more you look, the more you see, and a story emerges. Take a look at the pictures below. 

Smashing Plesman

A sporty director is good for a company’s reputation. Today, we jog and run marathons, but jogging has only been around for about 40 years. In Plesman’s day you didn’t hit the road for a run – sprinting along the street, with no public transport in sight, just attracted suspicion. People tended to take to sports fields or tennis courts.

KLM had a tennis club even before World War II, from 1928 in fact, which was given the name Aeronauten in the spring of 1947. And Plesman was there, playing on gravel courts with a wooden, Dunlop Maxply racket. Gut-strung, of course.

They couldn’t play in the rain, because the strings sagged. The gravel turned the white tennis balls a little orange. A small, wooden club house, probably green, can be seen in the background. A refined audience watches the game, applauding politely when a point is scored. Civilised sport.

Plesman at the tennis court

Haute couture

Above the North Sea, on 13 October, 1950, four fashion mannequins presented creations by the fashion designer, Herbert Sidon, whose origins were Austrian. A star in his day, he dressed the likes of Marlène Dietrich and had the honour of enveloping Queen Emma and Princess Beatrix in his creations.

In a Convair between London and Schiphol, Barbara, Jean, Christine and Molly paraded elegant dresses, coats, and hats, even a wedding dress, before the passengers, who, on this flight, didn’t gaze out of the windows, but kept their eyes fixed firmly on the view inside.

In the photograph we see Jean Lodge, a famous British actor. She is presenting creation number 5. The handwritten number rather detracts from the elegance of her attire. I’m not au fait with the correct terminology to describe what she is wearing, but it is pretty. This is, of course, not something you see everyday.

Jean Lodge

Constellation among cows

That Constellations and cows go together is apparent from this image. But what, in fact, am I looking at? An aircraft in a Dutch landscape – but what are the cows doing there? The photographer has made nifty use of the lack of depth of field, so that it looks as if the aircraft is in the meadow. The people on the left of the picture don’t seem at all perturbed – they don’t spare Constellation L-749 “Utrecht” a second glance.

In the right of the background is a lovely view of Schiphol, as it was in the early fifties. Some additional information, for the connoisseurs among you: The tall spire in the distance is the Catholic church in the village of Bovenkerk, which is now part of Amstelveen. The spire on the left is in Amstelveen, opposite where KLM’s head office was later built.

I can see it now from my desk. In those days, there were just meadows and cows, as we can see in the picture. And this is what makes the image special: the cows and the Constellation are standing more or less where the Kaagbaan runway now runs. But here, in the photo, there’s just open space and grass and relative quiet. I find this really hard to imagine now.



Happy crew on a machine that for decades was a massively popular mode of transport in the Netherlands: the Solex. Originally made in France, the Solex is a kind of bicycle with a small, 0.4 hp engine on the front wheel. It turned out to be a huge success; tens of thousands were sold. There were – and still are! – Solex clubs and even a Solex anthem, to strengthen the group identity. (“On a Solex, on a Solex, you sit like a millionaire. Just jump up onto the saddle and ride without turning a peddle…”) A Solex unites, clearly.

In 1950, Schiphol was the final destination for a huge Solex rally. From 11 points on a radius of 60 km around the airport, a total of 1,100 participants drove to Schiphol, passing various compulsory checkpoints on their way. A real rally. The finish was a hangar at Schiphol. It must have been packed, with 1,100 of those spluttering engines. We won’t mention the air pollution.

Want to see more remarkable photos? Let blog 1, blog 2 and blog 3 surprise you.




Posted by:   Frido Ogier  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

José Campbell-van der Heyden

Does anyone remember the KLM anthem?

Frido Ogier

Dear José,

If you google at KLM mars you’ll find several Youtube videos.

Kind redards

Kees Lodders

KLM is a great airline. I am born in 1946 and my father work for the airline until this retirement. I flow with all the aircrafts KLM had in the fifty’s Connie, Super Connie, super G Connie , DC-6, DC-6B, DC-7C, DC-8 Lockheed Electra 11, and op the European flights Convair 240/340 and Vikkers Viscount. Great plane they where. And of course the well known service of KLM. Passengers where look after as a king or queen in those days. Of course now a days the service is still excellent, but to day with the lower airfares compare too the extraordinary high airfares in the fifty’s it is impossible to maintain the service from the fifty’s. Example in 1950 cost a round trip Amsterdam New-York 4000,00 dutch guiders that was a year salary. So the service must be extraordinary too serve your passengers and flights where long, 19,5 hours to New-York.

But those where the days, and flying is now a days affordable for everyone.


kees Lodders

Fan of KLM

hans blom

Kees Lodders, voormalig hoofd keukens bij KLM Catering?

Hans Blom

Yozu Bruinsma

Typical Dutch, a Connie with cows and a Douglas DC4 with a COW painted on the nose !


I really enjoy these blog posts – fascinating stuff! (never heard of a Solex so off to do some research) But the best bit? You had plane called “Edam” – that’s brilliant. Imagine a BA plane called “Wensleydale” or “Cheddar” Ha!

Keep writing – please!


HALLO Frido Ogier .My name is Henk Wiersma I have a Question for you and I hope you can give me an answer to settle a bet between my brothers .I flew on May the fourth 1959 from Schiphol to Montreal /Dorval airport and landed there on May the fifth.This flight was the first NON STOP and I went with a “Stretched D C 7 C !My Flight number was K L M K L 671 .My brothers think I went with SUPER CONSTALLATION !! Thank YOU Frido.

Frido Ogier

Dear Henk, unfortunately there are no records of what aircraft was being used at that time. Both types were in operation on the North Atlantic rputes.

Kind regards,


Gerdina Olson nee Snoek

During the fifties, when I was a little girl, we visited friends who had a farm in the Haarlemmermeer near Aalsmeer. The entire farm has long been absorbed by Schiphol, but in those days, when Schiphol was still small, I would lie in the field right beneath the ascending airplanes and was always fascinated by it. I did end up working for an airline and married an airline pilot, so the fascination must have stayed in my mind somehow ! Still think KLM is one of the best airlines, keep up the good work !

Frido Ogier

Dear Gerdina, thanks for sharing this memory. Nice story. Those were the days… :-)

Best regards,


Elizabeth de Vries

My first KLM flight was Nov 23rd 1946, Amsterdam to New York. It took 29 hours and my mother’s fare was $325, mine (I was 8 months old) was $32.50!


Ontzettend leuk, die oude foto’s, hoop voor meer. Zelf gevlogen vsn 65-71, groet Marion


Hello Frido,

My father (G. Cochius) is in the picture with the crew on the solex, hè is the one in front, at the left of the four members of the crew. Hé is 92, still lives. Hè can’t find the picture anymore, so when i showed him this, hè was very happy to see this. After this picture was taken they had to fly, his memory isn’t that good anymore, but hè thinks iT was Turkey. but if anyone knows more, perhaps the names of the crew,….

Frido Ogier

Beste Ellen,

Wat leuk om te lezen dat je vader op deze foto staat. het is vaak heel moeilijk te achterhalen wie er op foto’s staan als er ook geen bijschriften bekend zijn. Het is voor ons ook moeilijk om na te gaan wanneer welke crew naar welke bestemming vloog, omdat de passagiers- en crewlijsten uit die tijd ontbreken. Ik heb nog even in de Wolkenridder naar het artikel gezocht over deze race, maar deze foto staat er niet bij en ook verder informatie leidt niet tot een oplossing.

Dank dat je reageerde, maar helaas heb ik je niet kunnen helpen zoals ik graag had gewild.



Adriana Harwood- van Sluijs

My Family Mother and 7 girls and one son Flew on board KLM DC4 ” OVERLOON ” TO Australia the first ever pane with 52 Immigrants on board and 8 Journalist, they stayed in Australia for 6 weeks to report on the Migrants settling into Australia.We are from Zeeland Middelburg,and settled close to Melbourne. our flight took a week and every night we stopped over and stayed in the best Hotels with the Crew and the Journalists . I would love to find a bit about the Plane and Maybe a picture of the “Overloon ” DC 4 This Flight left Holland 28 September 1953

Frido Ogier

Dear Adriana, thank you for your interesting message. Maybe if you google the registration of ‘Overloon’: PH-TCP or PH-TLW you’ll find some additional information. The aircraft was part of the KLM flees from 1946 until 1955. It was sold afterwards. The Maria Austria Institute in Amsterdam manages our historical picture archive, so please contact this for any pictures. Hope you’ll succeed!

Best regards,

Frido Ogier

Renee Lundy

I read Adriana’s post, but I think she was not the first DC4 flight with migrants to Australia. My family (2 adults and 4 Children) flew to Australia in October 1950 landing in Sydney on 12th October, 1950.
We flew in a DC4, and each night we stayed in a different country. I was only 6 years old, but I remember we stayed in fancy hotels. The first night in Cairo, next night Karachi, then Colombo (Sri Lanka), next night Singapore followed by a night in Darwin before arriving in Sydney in the mid afternoon. We flew long hours, usually arriving after dark. When we crossed the eqator (over desert) the crew put on a ceremony like they used to do on the ships, with King Neptune, someone being (fake) shaved and more.
I believe the cost of the flight for the 6 members of my family was 1000 Australian pounds, when my father was earning less than 15 pounds a week.
Kind regards,
Renee Lundy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *