Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum (Royal Tichelaar Makkum, est. 1572) is the oldest company in the Netherlands and has worldwide recognition in the field of ceramics. Over the centuries the company has accumulated a priceless reservoir of knowledge and skill. The proven durable properties of ceramic and its timeless beauty adds cultural value to Tichelaar’s products making them more relevant than ever. These qualities have a great attraction for contemporary architects, artists and designers, and with them Tichelaar seeks out possible new uses and areas of application. In addition to this customised work, Tichelaar is also developing a expanding range of its own ceramic products for the building industry, particularly façade cladding and interior applications. In addition to this we continue to produce our renowned traditional decorative earthenware and tiles on request. A number of pieces by contemporary designers in the design collection have become icons in the history of Dutch design.
To ensure the future progress of the company, Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum deliberately opted to expand and promote the knowledge and the craft skills it had at its disposal. Over the last century, industrialisation and far-reaching rationalisation have resulted in a reduction in what is achievable in the ceramic market. The 19th century saw craft techniques disappear from the industrial production process. Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum is one of the world’s few remaining factories that continued to invest in traditional craft production processes, and this persistence has now put the company in a leading position. Developments in contemporary architecture and design show that there is an ever-increasing need for diversity and enhancement. Experiment and research are rooted in the history and mentality of our company and the knowledge we have enables us to react to the requests of architects, artists and designers for materials and products that do not yet exist. In this way we offer a relevant and durable response to a growing international demand for an expanding range of products.
The relevant map in Caspar Robles’ 1572 atlas shows a ‘briccaria’ or brick factory on the site where the Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum factory is now. This provides the earliest proof of a long company history. In 1640 the company became a family firm and remains so until today. The company has down the centuries displayed an exceptional awareness of its valuable tradition and now, in the twelfth generation under the leadership of Jan Tichelaar, it once again works to refresh and expand the development of traditional craftsmanship and ceramic knowledge, the company’s core values.
Economic and technological changes have never alienated Tichelaar from its traditional origins. The clay, a large proportion of which is still excavated locally, and the glazes, are still the two most important raw materials the company uses. The company’s expertise also includes many of the production methods, such as hand-painting and the age-old and superior seventeenth-century faience technique – also called Delft earthenware and which Tichelaar is now the only factory in Europe still to produce. The same can be said of the huge knowledge and manufacture of glazes. Fuelled by this rich history and expertise, we constantly seek exciting new challenges from architects, artists and designers.