Only one guest room left by KLM | Interview

When Bob Hofman saw a time-lapse video on the Internet in which Tanja Papez made a mural of a KLM Boeing 747, he knew immediately: she can come and do that to me too. He loves the plane that made the blue airline amazing. She prefers to paint large objects and it is definitely the Queen of Heaven.

When people come to see the mural, Bob is always aware of their facial expressions. For some they have nothing to do with it, others are very enthusiastic. This applies to the entire collection of KLM memorabilia, which he owns and occupies two rooms. ‘My grandfather was a curator at the Antiquities Museum in Leiden,’ says Bob. ‘He flew regularly and then came home with those houses and I thought they were so beautiful. I now have them all, except the first ones come from him. ‘ Not that Bob immediately started collecting, he has only done so for ten years. He has been a KLM fan for a very long time. Call it chauvinistic. We are landed with a six-is-good-enough culture. But you can find something very special. KLM is the oldest airline in the world. ‘

When Bob himself started flying at work, he accidentally ended up in Business Class. ‘I had an accident with the passenger next to me, so did the cabin crew. Action followed. ‘ It was immediately clear to Bob that it is much better in that class than in Economy Comfort. “There you have a little more legroom, but you are still cramped. Now my motto is: If you travel, make it fun. ‘ At KLM, they quickly knew exactly what his favorite seats were in the 747: 77k and 78k in the upper deck. “It was on my profile. When I made my hundredth flight, I received a card on behalf of the entire KLM staff. KLM is doing its best to make it comfortable to travel.” Now that a set of just these chairs is part of his collection, he can also sit on them at home.

In Orlando in the officer

Bob especially loves the stories behind all the KLM memorabilia. He takes a Philips scraper from one of the shelves, the so-called “egg” in KLM blue. ‘Now you get a 25 cent plastic scraper to shave with, but then there were people who went to work day in and day out to make sure those eggs were disinfected and equipped with charged White Cat batteries on board.’ He points to two aircraft caps, one white and one blue. He got them from one of the children to a pilot who often flew to India. There the pilot wore the white cap. Both KLM caps got the desired beautiful spot with Bob.

© Bob Hoffman

The renovation includes a large-scale model of a 747-200 that was still in the office of former KLM President and CEO Sergio Orlandini. ‘Because of the heat from the fluorescent tube under the roof, the roof began to melt. I make a thin LED strip in it. The model keeps up with the times’, laughs Bob. A model of PH-BUF, the Jumbo that crashed on Tenerife at the time, has a special place. ‘This icon stood in the home of a relative for thirty years. It was created as a memorial to the tragedy behind it. The person in question moved to a smaller house and therefore offered it for sale ‘.

Definitely from KLM again

“I have a brand on all day,” Bob says. ‘I’ve saved things from the bin several times. Not everyone knows the value of what they own. “Definitely from KLM again”, my family guesses when I call one of them and ask to pick something up. Even Manon, my wife, said that when a box of insulation material was delivered here to the garden house, we were building here. ‘ He immediately reveals that the garden house is intended for overnight guests because they ‘only have one available room due to KLM’ instead of three. “Astrologically, I’m a lobster, and it’s known for gathering everything of which there are more than two.” From earplugs, eye patches, earplugs, toiletry bags, cufflinks, plates and so on and so forth, Bob owns many more than two. Think like in tens sometimes. And of all that he has, he writes down how he got it.

feel in love

When Bob came across the time-lapse video on the Internet of the mural that Tanja Papez made of a Boeing 747, he decided not to leave his first national pension in the bank, but to redeem it in the form of an immortalization of his favorite. fly with him home on a wall. “Even though I still enjoy working in the workforce, the 747 represents the next phase of my life there,” he says. ‘It marks a turnaround from my office to mine mand hule.

For Tanja, this is the first time she has not pictured the Jumbo in a children’s room. She is now three 747s and a helicopter further in the aviation area. “I’m not going to spot planes, but when I first painted the 747, I immediately fell in love,” she says. “The big thing attracts me, and planes are big.”

A nice attitude

No matter how big a flying machine is, there are many details in it. “The engines with all the fan blades and landing gear, such as the wheels hanging.” Tanja laughs at the memory of the boy for whom she painted the other 747. “He knew exactly how to do it all.” She calls it ‘hard’ to get the right KLM blue. ‘I even mix the colors I work with. I ask the customer if the color is right, that’s where I place the responsibility. ‘ Getting the hull to come out completely smooth is also ‘a difficult painting’. For a beautiful composition, the artist himself also searches the Internet for examples. ‘The planes must have a good attitude and the logo must be visible.’ Tanja does not mock. “I’m not very well informed about everything that flies.” But when she sees icons like Lockheed Constellation and McDonnell Douglas MD-11 or special versions like Orange Pride, she becomes completely enthusiastic. “I think it would be great to paint a mural of the development that airplanes have undergone over the years,” she says.

Tanja works for Bob © Bob Hofman

Lovely tucked away

All three customers went for a slightly different version of the 747. ‘The last two wanted that dolphin face,’ says Tanja. “And Bob wanted the KLM 100 year logo on it.” A must for the enthusiastic collector. “One has to do justice to what has been going on for so long,” he says. ‘For half of the hundred years, KLM flew with the 747. That machine has served KLM in so many different ways. You do not dump it; she’s got a blue ribbon. ‘ He is convinced that five farewell flights would not have given the many enthusiasts the great joy, but also given a lot of money to KLM. ‘She has been hidden away in disgrace. They could have given the Queen of Heaven a nice goodbye from that gentleman bonus in France. I understand the pressure from the corona; the loan granted by the state to KLM was and still is looked at with skeptical eyes. But in the same period, 150 million was spent on a painting that was national heritage. And someone has become very rich from all those mouthpieces. ‘ Bob has not yet completely given up hope of a dignified farewell to the Boeing 747 in KLM colors. ‘There’s still one in Maastricht, the former PH-BFW.’

To strengthen each other

“The MD-11 is also an icon,” Bob says. ‘It’s a plane that stands out. The Ditto Lockheed constellation. There are aviation fans who think it’s the only Queen of the Skies. Is it bad if there are two queens? Maybe a third will come when electric flight has taken shape. You have to think bigger. And reinforce each other. With the choice of their delft blue miniature houses, KLM is making its connection with the Netherlands clear. That’s brilliant. ‘ Because Bob also has a collection of Mascolori shoes, he already threw a ball against the also Dutch manufacturer for a limited edition with an imprint of KLM houses. He hopes it will work.

Fly yourself in a Boeing 737 simulator!

Come and fly yourself or give a session in SimFlying’s Boeing 737NG simulator under the guidance of a professional instructor. Prices start at € 120 for 1.5 hour sims. Get Up in the Sky readers with the discount code upinthesky additional € 15 discount! Extended opening hours and free parking at our location near Schiphol East.

For more information, visit

Leave a Comment