Gribnau Communications advised on auction sale of First and Second World War memorabilia in Netherlands

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Gribnau Communications were called in by Troostwijk Auctions, one of the Netherlands premier auction houses, to advise on how to publicise the sale of 150,000 memorabilia items from the First and Second World War. It was vitally important that Gribnau understood and worked with the sensitivities of such a collection, yet still achieve the client’s objective of positive media coverage.

A hugely successful press event was organised by Gribnau and this resulted in five radio and television stations covering the event as did all of the Netherland’s national daily newspapers.

De Telegraaf coverage

De Telegraaf coverage

The auction took place at the end of July 2014 and was the collection of Jan van Gelder, who gathered items from more than eighteen countries over many years. Troostwijk spent more than 2,300 man hours sorting out the display which covered over 5000 square meters and included a complete German field kitchen from the First World War, submarine and aircraft components, some 2,500 uniforms, generators and over 600 complete (and still edible) meals.

The two-day auction came about as Jan van Gelder retired so bringing down the curtain on his work and hobby. Arno Feenstra, managing director of Troostwijk Auctioneers explained that such a collection was unprecedented and worldwide interest was expected.

Great care was taken to ensure that the collection was pre-screened to ensure that offensive or illegal items were not offered for sale. All relevant bodies were consulted and legislation – such as the Weapons Act – complied with.

David Gribnau said, “We advised on what do to with the Nazi elements of the collection – not everything can be sold in the Netherlands. However, we knew that there would be huge interest throughout the world, and so it proved some 700 people attended the auction.”


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