My first blog appeared on this site almost exactly a year ago. To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever have become a blogger of my own accord. I don’t really like being in the spotlight, so it was all rather nerve-wracking to see my name and photo on the site. It all began with one of my colleagues, who enjoyed the articles I’d written for internal KLM media on the history of our organisation. So she pitched the idea of a history blog to the editorial board and, hey presto, suddenly my writing was there for all to see.
Chicken or Beef?
That said, I’d like to mark my first year as a blogger with an overview of some of my most successful blogs. My catering blog, under the heading “Chicken or beef?”, did exceptionally well, attracting more than 12,000 readers. It took a look at catering practices in 1965. This topic appeals to a lot of people, apparently, and everyone seems to have their own ideas about it. Some would love to eat airline meals every day, while others have only criticism. In the meantime, I’ve come across all sorts of catering stories, so the topic is bound to pop up again sometime. By the way, the photos featured in the blog weren’t actually taken in 1965, but a year later. I cheated a bit, I admit, but I couldn’t resist them, because they were so perfectly corny.
Hooray for Google Earth
I was surprised by the popularity of my “Plaswijck” blog, which got a big response and prompted passengers as well as flight crew to take a stroll down memory lane. It was wonderful to read their comments. I must say it was an exceptional journey delving into the building’s origins and post-KLM history. It harks back to a time when there were still long layovers and KLM had its own hotels. And thanks to Google Earth (hooray!), I was able to see how things look nowadays. Not that brilliant, as I discovered, but an old building with a rich history on overrun grounds always appeals to the imagination. This blog prompted a request to write about another legendary hotel on the route to Asia: Midway House in Karachi. I’ve already dug up some interesting facts and figures, but if there are people out there with memories of the place, please let me know so that I can blend them into an interesting piece.
People love looking at pictures
Another winner was the blog about KLM stickers and advertisements. Entire books have been written on this topic, which meant I had to approach this blog with all due caution. People love looking at pictures, so there were plenty of those. I chose to focus on the extent to which KLM incorporates its Dutch roots into its promotional material. This has taken many different forms, ranging from the explicit (a woman in Dutch traditional costume) to the more subtle (a sticker created by a Dutch artist). But there’s so much more to share. Our house style, for example, which I dealt with in another popular blog that took a look at KLM’s logo. And there’s more, of course, so I’m sure I’ll return to the topic once I’ve gained fresh inspiration.
Very exciting to write
I covered lots of milestones and firsts. In fact, I started this series with a blog on KLM’s first transatlantic flight, which was very exciting to write, mainly because it was a really perilous flight back in the day. Thorough preparations were always made, with plenty of support stations along the way, ships waiting for rendezvous to make radio contact, and hazardous weather conditions at lower altitudes. It’s hardly surprising that the pilots who completed the crossing were considered heroes. They spurred the development of aviation, putting their lives on the line to demonstrate what was possible. Judging by their flight logbook, the pilots weren’t too excited, but it must have been a huge thrill. More than 6,700 readers thought so too.
I’ll be back with a new series of blogs after the summer. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing!