|In the 20th century most glass factories in Europe began competing in a global market and their products travelled a long way from home. Each factory tried to develop its own unique 'international' style and at the same time respond to local markets and tastes. The same skills and similar equipment could be used to produce flatware, bottles and jars, lighting, stemware and decorative glassware. In 1925 Belgium and The Netherlands were home to at least 30 factories producing hand-made glass, but post-WW2 globalisation has now eliminated all but a handful.|
The art deco influence on a calvanistic culture sparked a unique phase in Dutch industrial design. Glass design for use in the homes of Belgium and Holland avoided the French taste for highly decorated wares, detailed motiefs and acid-etching, and likewise the German taste for geometry and irridescence.
Leaders of Dutch art-deco, HP Berlage and KPC de Bazel had helped establish 'de Stijl' (the style), which was developed in A.D. Copier's designs for Leerdam Glass, with clean, simple, organic forms and high production-values. Round edges, perfect proportion and subtle craftsmanship were the hallmarks of 'kunstnijverheid' (industrial art) and similar styles were adopted by WJ Rozendaal for Kristalunie Maastricht, and by Belgian factories, such as De Rupel in Boom,and in some cases by Val-St-Lambert and other local suppliers.
Retailers across Europe, (incl, Dutch companies like Metz, Gebr. Müller, and Rimac) also designed their own product ranges, bought from various factories on a contract basis, and added their own label before sale.
After the war, Dutch designs were resumed and updated. Uranium-based greens and yellows, were replaced with the new, brighter colours of the space age, typified by the harlequin colours of Verboeket's stemware Carnaval.
In 1957 the producer of royal Orange Vases was awarded the accolade Royal Leerdam. Leerdam and Maastricht factories invested in mechanisation, and increasingly copied the successes of their competitors. The craftsmen/glass-designers were usually deployed for hand-made, short runs, or one-off works of glassmaking art, serica or 'Unica'.
In the 1960's household glass was being imported to the Benelux in huge quantities (particularly from Walther & Söhne in Dresden and Arques in France) forcing most of the remaining Benelux factories to close in the 1970's. Maastricht returned to making bottles, leaving only Val-St-Lambert and Leerdam still producing hand-blown crystal at the end of the century.
Although less internationally-recognised than French or Bohemian glass of the same period, growing appreciation of the sobriety, strength and simplicity of Dutch design has allowed a considerable collector's-market to develop, particularly for designs made 1925-1938.
The major designers of the Dutch factories are well documented, but only now is there growing interest the smaller Belgian factories.
• Specific information about Dutch and Belgian glass, designers, major landmarks, etc. can be found via the menu (left).
• Click here for our tips on identifying your glass, and finding out whether it's dutch.
• In our library you will find catalogues from Leerdam and Maastricht, as well as a guide to published books and links to glass catalogues for non-Dutch factories.
• On our Glass Links page you will find resources on other european factories, their history, methods of manufacture, and current values.
• If you would like to own any of the items on this site then you might want to browse through our 'Glass For Sale' pages .
• Please mail us with any corrections or suggested improvements.
THE SCOPE OF THIS WEBSITE is intended to focus on information which is not documented elsewhere, or is incorrectly attributed in general or in the literature. The two books by Annette Kley-Blekxtoon are the most authoritative guides to date, and we do not replicate here the huge amount of information which they contain.