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KPM (The Netherlands)

Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij, Amsterdam

Last modified: 2014-10-11 by andrew weeks
Keywords: kpm |
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[Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij new flag] image by Jarig Bakker, 13 Oct 2003 See also:

Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij new flag

Houseflag: bright red with a white lozenge, over the total length and hight of the flag, charged with the yellow royal crown.
Symbolism: the lozenge reaches all borders of the flag, which signifies the immense territory of the East Indian Archipelago (nearly the size of Europe) - later on the KPM was trading on S and E Asia, Australia, New Zealand, E and S Africa, America and even in Europe (Oranje-Lijn).
The KPM did not have the monopoly on shipping in Dutch East India, but came very close, because of the privileges granted by the Dutch government. This lasted from Jan 1891 till Dec 1957.
Source: A.J.J. Mulder "Koninkijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij; Wel en wee van een Indische Reederij". 1991, De Alk, Alkmaar.
Jarig Bakker, 13 Oct 2003

Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij N.V. I think you will find that there is only one actual version, being that with the diamond throughout the field, as detailed by Mulder. Practically every source from Lloyds 1904 on shows it as such and there is a photo in Talbot-Booth's 1942 Merchant Ships which clearly shows the flag as such. Of 4 variances found two have it nearly throughout. There is more variance on the crown's colours with most showing it in yellow and red but some being plain yellow (or gold).
Neale Rosanoski, 9 Nov 2003

Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij

[Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij] image by Jarig Bakker, 11 Oct 2003

N.V. Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij, Amsterdam (Royal Mail Line) - Red with a white diamond in the center, charged with a yellow crown.
Other sources have a white diamond over all.
Source: houseflagchart of the Magazine "De Blauwe Wimpel", April 1956
All about Ships and Shipping, E.P. Harnack (ed), 1938, 1959
Jarig Bakker, 11 Oct 2003

Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij flag with star

[KPM-flag with star] image by Eugene Ipavec, 7 Jun 2006, co-credit to Jarig Bakker.

A search on ‘Maritiem Digitaal’ (Dutch maritime databases collective search system) will be rewarding:
type ‘rederijvlag’ (i.e. shipping company flag) in the box and have a look at nos. 32-34 of the results (pictures are clickable).

No. 32 shows the KPM flag as presented on FOTW-ws (first version).  Specimen measures 147 cm x 230 cm.

No. 33 has the same flag with an additional white five-pointed star in the hoist upper corner. (Was this a commodore flag?)  Measures 131 cm x 220 cm.

No. 34 however shows the second version on FOTW-ws, in other words, the smaller diamond the points of which do not touch the flag’s edges.  So it reallly existed; this one measures 98 x 158.

In all cases the crown is shown in great detail (but smaller in the “starred” variant).
Jan Mertens, 4 Jun 2006

Nederlandsch-Indische Stoomvaart Maatschappij

[NISM flag] image by Jarig Bakker, 4 Jun 2006

The "Koninkijke Paketvaart Maatschappij" was founded in 1888, and became effective only in 1890/91.

So far I haven't found how shipping was organized in the Indonesian Archipelago between 1798 (dissolution of the VOC) and 1850, but it is safe to assume that the British had a major hand in it.

In 1850 shipping was in the hands of "Cores de Vries". No houseflag known and no knowledge about ownership.

In 1863 it was maintained by the "Nederlandsch-Indische Stoomvaart Maatschappij" (Dutch-Indian Steamship Company), which, despite its rather Dutch sounding name, was a British company. All Dutch East Indian products were sent to Singapore (by-passing Batavia), before being shipped to "Patria" (fatherland = Netherlands). The flag can be seen on a painting: a white flag with a red saltire, with in the quadrants "NISM" in blue.
(The ship has also a long name pennant: blue, with white "SUMBAWA".)

In 1888 the navigation in the Indonesian Archipelago came firm into the hands of the Dutch - although one may wonder how firm... The products from the Dutch Indies were far more important than the question of how they got into "Patria"!
Jarig Bakker, 4 Jun 2006

Sumbawa name-pennant, an NISM ship

[Sumbawa name-pennant] image by Jarig Bakker, 4 Jun 2006