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Learn More About Scandinavian Rug Design House Kinheim
Kinheim Rugs— Kinheim carpets started the production on September 1, 1910 & within 10 years the company had been widely known throughout Scandinavia for its artistic quality and originality. Their incorporation of oriental motifs into their own modernist designs quickly found their way to many well known venues such as the “Peace Palace” in The Hague (who acquired 15 pieces) and in 1926 the company had retained the designation “Royal”.
Designer and entrepreneur Hendrik Godefridus Polvliet (1868-1923) was instrumental in establishing Holland’s Kinheim Beverwijk Handtapijtknoperij. The Kinheim carpet studio in the city of Beverwijk was by Hendrik Godefridus Polvliet and his wife Cornelia Martina Polvliet van Hoogstraten. The so-called Kinheim carpets were originally based on Orientalist designs created by Hendrik Godefridus Polvliet, but later included patterns by other designers as well. Hendrik Godefridus Polvliet’s designs were wildly successfully with 15 pieces owned by The Hague making him a truly influential designer in the Dutch Niewe Kunst or Art Nouveau movement.
The now-widow Polvliet Hoogstrate continued the business under the name “Royal Handtapijtknoperij Kinheim” and the company received much attention and recognition from the press. The company was frequently the main source for many of the top interior designers and estates throughout Europe.
Many large companies and individuals, that were willing to invest large sums to acquire their pieces, gave orders to Kinheim as their vintage carpets were known for their durability and beautiful designs – some of which were the creations of various artists (such as: Jac. van den Bosch, CA Lion Cachet, Theo Nieuwenhuis and Dirk Verstraten) and stood head over heels above those of other carpets. In 1942 the company passed into the hands of Corn. van den Brink from Hilversum and took place even expansion. Over the years, the craft was too expensive and eventually it was replaced by the hand-knotted area carpet factory in 1973.
The Handmade Rug Workshop “Kinheim” in Beverwijk from 1910 to 1973
Hendrik Godefridus Polvliet, according to the trade register, established the Handmade Rug Workshop ‘Kinheim’ on September 1, 1910, at Zeestraat 104 in Beverwijk. Originally, the company was located on Vondellaan in Beverwijk, which was then called Spargielaan. His wife, Mrs. C.M. Polvliet – Van Hoogstraaten (1883-1966), had already started the handmade rug workshop ‘Kinheim’ there in 1909. Handmade rugs were knotted here on a small scale.
The couple became acquainted with rug weaving in Morocco, where they stayed for some time due to Mr. Polvliet’s health issues. Because of recurrent asthma attacks, Mr. Polvliet had been advised to stay in dry, warm countries for an extended period. During their time there, Mrs. Polvliet learned knotting and weaving techniques and reproduced many patterns. Initially, the rugs were sold to family and acquaintances.
Orders started pouring in quickly, and with the knowledge of Mrs. Polvliet-van Hoogstraten, the company grew significantly. Within a year, in 1911, it moved to Zeestraat and had about twelve girls working. A large order (15 rugs) for the Peace Palace in 1913 could only be fulfilled in a larger workshop. The enterprising couple had a 144-meter-long wooden workshop built behind their house at Zeestraat 104. Now, larger handmade rugs could be knotted by hand behind the residence.
Within 10 years, the company had gained significant recognition throughout the Netherlands for its quality and artistic originality. Their original designs inspired by Eastern motifs quickly found their way into boats, palaces, residences, and council chambers. On May 19, 1926, the company was granted the title ‘Royal.’ Unfortunately, the founder did not live to witness this honor, as he passed away on June 17, 1923. His widow, Cornelia Maartina Polvliet-Hoogstraaten, continued the business. The new name became ‘Royal Handmade Rug Workshop Kinheim.’
In addition to work for individuals, numerous rugs were made for Dutch passenger ships, such as the Johan de Witt (designed by Lion Cachet), the Nieuw-Amsterdam, and many others. Municipal and provincial authorities also commissioned significant projects. Kinheim rugs can be found, among other places, in the council chamber in Amsterdam, the town halls in Den Bosch, De Bilt, Enschede, Uithoorn, and Beverwijk, as well as in the provincial government buildings in Maastricht and Haarlem. In the latter, you’ll also find stair runners designed by Jo de Jong.
Carpets were also supplied to offices such as those of the Nederlansche Handel-Maatschappij and the Scheepvaarthuis. Highlights for the workshop included commissions for the Royal House. Kinheim, for instance, created a carpet designed by Mrs. Brom-Fischer for the dining room at Soestdijk Palace and carpets for the yacht Piet Hein. Notably, the Sultan of Deli (in 1938) and the Shah of Persia also commissioned rugs from Kinheim.
After an initial period of growth, the workshop faced setbacks due to World War I. However, there was a resurgence in the 1920s. The extensive number of orders provided work for around 60 girls and women. During the economic crisis of the 1930s, the company adapted by focusing on simpler techniques. During that time, they produced the more affordable ‘konkitatapijt,’ woven with coarse knots using undyed material.
The company, which had been acquired by Mr. Keizer in Hilversum in 1941, came to a standstill during World War II.
Activities resumed after 1945 under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Mastenbroek. Numerous large projects were executed for government buildings, ships, and companies. On average, the company employed 30 to 40 female workers, sometimes reaching around 60.
Due to changing interests and economic circumstances—such as the decline in orders from shipping companies—the demand for hand-made area rugs crafted using special patterns decreased significantly. These, as well as plain rugs, were increasingly replaced by much cheaper, machine-made flooring.
The last commission undertaken by ‘Kinheim’ was in early 1973. The workshop in Beverwijk was closed in April of that year.
Notable designers included Jac. van den Bosch, C.A. Lion Cachet, Theo Nieuwenhuis, and Dirk Verstraten.
Kinheim was the only company in the Netherlands where rugs were knotted using classical Eastern techniques. Each rug required a considerable number of work hours.
The size of the rug determined how many girls worked on it. A narrow runner or a small cushion rug would be made by a single girl, whereas a very large rug or carpet could involve 8 to 10 girls.
The “girls” ranged in age from 15 to 60 years. A rug with 40 knots per square centimeter and dimensions of 2 by 3 meters had a total of two and a half million knots. A skilled knotter could make 5,000 to 8,000 knots in a day, which means it would take 350 working days to complete the mentioned rug.
The early rugs from Kinheim Rug Workshop (before 1926) were marked on the back with the words ‘Kinheim’ and ‘Beverwijk’ along with an image of a swastika. After receiving the ‘Royal’ title in 1926, the swastika was replaced with a crown.