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Our History

A journey

We would like to take you back in time

Continuous innovation and constant attention to quality. That is the common thread in the history of Bolsius.


Bolsius is B Corp certified.

As a B Corp, we are part of a global community of companies that meet high standards for social and environmental impact. Organizations that use their business as a force for good. Naturally, we are very happy to be part of the B Corp movement. It is a recognition of the values ​​we strive for as we share the magic of the flame with consumers around the world. Moreover, it is the beginning of our journey towards continuous improvement and collective action.


The introduction of CleanLight.

More atmosphere, less waste. That is CleanLight. A revolutionairy system with a unique holder and refillable candle. De patented technology behind the the double wanded glass makes sure that de candle burns completely withour residue. Less waste, enjoy it just as much.


The history of Bolsius stretches back 150 years, from New Zealand to South America. Starting with a wax bleacher at Kerkendijk in Schijndel, Bolsius has grown since 1870 into one of the largest producers of candles in Europe.

From our head office in Schijndel – still at the Kerkendijk – and our various European branches, Bolsius brings light, scent and atmosphere into millions of households worldwide.


A new milestone was reached with the takeover of Eika Kerzen in Germany. The German brand Eika allowed us to add another quality seal to our portfolio.


From candles that provide light to candles that provide a scent. Bolsius introduced a wide and high-quality range of scented candles under the name Bolsius Aromatic.


Bolsius introduced the Twilight, a modern terrace light under the Bolsius Professional name; a complete and top quality range for the professional user, including hospitality users.


Bolsius began the production of rustic candles in all colours of the rainbow. From this point, Bolsius started providing a wide range of fashionable, decorative candles to consumers in north-west Europe.


In this year, Bolsius began storing heated raw materials in Moerdijk in order to guarantee the quality of the candles. Bolsius is unique in this regard.


Bolsius sets up a manufacturing site in Poland.

The takeover of the various manufacturing sites in Europe made production even more complex: by the end of the 1990s, the many factories were producing a total of approximately 35,000 items. These factories also supplied a number of the same customers. For this reason, Bolsius made the decision to centralise the sales organisation into three regions and to construct a central warehouse beside the head office in Schijndel.

In addition, the number of manufacturing sites was reduced to three, while a new manufacturing site was set up in Kobylin, Poland, to produce candles that had previously required a great deal of manual labour during the production process. It proved to be a good decision, even though the central warehouse in Schijndel quickly became too small and was moved to Helmond, where Vos Logistics has been providing distribution and storage on behalf of Bolsius since 1998.


To mark our 125th birthday, we donated a bronze statue to the province of Schijndel.

“‘Vrouw met blaker’ (woman with candlestick) This was the name given to the two-meter high work of art that Bolsius donated to the province of Schijndel. It was the year in which Bolsius celebrated its 125th birthday, and to celebrate links with the community of Schijndel, Bolsius donated this work of art. The artwork is said by its creator, Niek van Leest from Lage Zwaluwe, to concern candlelight. Candles to create atmosphere. The woman is dressed in nightwear to evoke the darkness. She checks the byre and the buildings.

The statue is displayed at the intersection of Hoofdstraat and Kluisstraat, where one of the Bolsius family villas once stood.”


The market changed, and so did Bolsius. We increased in size so we could keep serving customers.

1995 is also the year in which the Kristen B.V. candle manufacturer in Delden was taken over. The takeover was viewed as a logical step given the many years of cooperation the two companies had enjoyed with one another. The church candle department of Kristen Delden was merged with the Kaarsenfabriek Hoogeland, based in Roermond, in 1998. The name was changed to Kaarsenfabriek Hoogeland-Kristen.

With the takeover of one Danish and two German candle factories, the Bolsius Group became Europe’s largest candle manufacturer. The takeover of the Danish Midjysk Lysfabrik allowed the Bolsius Group to attain a strong position in the Scandinavian market. With the takeover of Mϋnz and Kieser Kerzen in Germany, the Group attempted to gain a foothold in the market for fashionable candles, i.e., candles with frills and ornamentation of the sort, widespread in Bavaria and Austria.


What did we buy from Koninklijke Verkade in this year?

Not biscuits, nor chocolate, but waxine lights!

Verkade started producing waxine tea and night lights made from paraffin wax in a small factory in Amsterdam in 1898. The waxine factory in Zaandam was opened in 1902. The patent was purchased from the Englishman Morris Fowler, the son-in-law of E.G. Verkade. Waxine became so popular that the brand name became a generic term. In 1991, Verkade sold all its waxine activities to Bolsius.


In 1990, the Bolsius Group took two important steps in advancing company activities in Scandinavia. Bolsius Nordic A.B. was set up in Stockholm, while the subsidiary company, P.A. Trading-Bolsius A.B., was established in Oslo.


Bolsius kept the flame alight in the church candles sector.

The Bolsius factories primarily produced candles for non-religious use. By working with the Hoogeland and Sons company based in Roermond, who specialised in producing church candles, Bolsius ensured that this sector remained protected within the company.

The H. Hoogeland and Sons company was searching for an acquisition partner following the death of one of the owners (Harrie Hoogeland), and found one in Anton Kristen’s Bolsius Group.


Bolsius went for gold, and in this year, took over the NV Koninklijke Stearine Kaarsenfabriek Gouda-Apollo.


Two candle families merged, and continued under the name of Bolsius Kaarsenfabriek B.V.

This was the year in which A.J.B. (Anton) Kristen, descended from a family of wax candle manufacturers from Delden, took over the company from Lambertus Bolsius.

Business continued under the Bolsius Kaarsenfabriek B.V. name, as this was the brand that consumers knew best. Under the leadership of Anton Kristen, large-scale investments were made in the installation of a number of fully-automated candle manufacturing production lines, which was one of the factors that contributed to a trebling of the annual turnover. Introducing candles in stylish packaging and gift wrapping along with selling candle accessories also proved to be a gap in the market.

Image: Packaging candles


The company owned by the Bolsius brothers waxed and waned in the 60s and 70s before running into major difficulties in the 70s.

Bolsius could not compete with what was, at the time, fierce competition from Eastern European countries.

In addition, the family was no longer involved in day-to-day management, because Lambertus Bolsius was a director at Nutricia, and was at this point only a shareholder. The candle-making sector has always been highly traditional and is made up of family companies. For this reason, the Bolsius family started looking for a candidate to take over the company.

In 1963 the Bolsius brothers started the successful sale of graveside candles and party candles produced in a candle factory in Boxmeer, under the leadership of Anton Kristen.


The visit of Princess Irene and the production of special candles for the wedding dinner of Princess Beatrix were highlights in our history.


The pressed tealight saw the light of day thanks to an invention by Lambertus Bolsius.

Because Lambertus Bolsius was also a director at Nutricia (manufacturing powdered milk), he also formulated the unique concept of making paraffin powder by allowing liquid paraffin to come into contact with cold air, and used this technique to create pressed tealights. A tower was developed to produce powder and an old tableting machine (previously used to make Maggi seasoning tablets) was overhauled to make a press for tealights. This set the foundations for the production of tealights and votive candles on a major scale. Important highlights from these years include: Alpengloei tealights and Theresia votive candles. During these years, the company grew from a traditional manufacturing to a medium-sized industrial business.


Candles gained increased popularity in the 50s and 60s, even outside the church environment. The Bolsius brothers attained success by manufacturing decorative candles.

During this period, young people in particular had an increased need for candlelight to replace electric lighting. Decorative candles especially grew in popularity. The Bolsius brothers successfully focused on the manufacture of these candles. Profits increased in the Kerkendijk factory, as did the number of employees.

In 1954 the company was dealtt a heavy blow by the deaths of both directors, Henricus and Godefridus Bolsius, in a car accident. This gave rise to huge dismay, both in the factory and in the Schijndel area, in which the men had always shown a great deal of interest. Harrie’s son, L.J. (Lambertus) Bolsius took over the leadership, together with P. van der Heijden.

During the era in which Lambertus Bolsius and P. van der Heijden held the reins, the company increased enormously in size.


While the war was breaking out, the company started to manufacture plaster figurines. There was barely a house in Schijndel without a ‘Kniertje’ (a fisherman's widow from the Dutch play Op Hoop van Zegen) at the window.

The outbreak of the Second World War and the stagnation in the supply of raw materials for manufacturing wax and candles was a real blow to the company. To keep as many workers from Germany as possible, the company started to manufacture items including plaster figurines, known as ‘Kniertjes’.

After the 1944 airdrops, Schijndel was on the front line for six weeks, and a great deal was destroyed, including much of the company owned by the Bolsius brothers. However, it was the first company to get back on its feet after Schijndel was liberated. In 1950, the production of Gothic candles, household candles and pillar candles began.


The Bolsius brothers started making a name for themselves in manufacturing church candles. The product went down so well with church members that they granted them the distinction of papal purveyor.


It was around this year that the wax bleacher started to manufacture church candles.

The manufacturing was carried out using a casting machine invented by Antonius Bolsius and his foreman, Driek van Uden, in which the wick was immersed into liquid wax. A number of ladies were hired for the weaving process. In addition, the candles were also made by hand. This traditional method of making candles by hand was taught by Schijndel’s priest, Marinus van Liempd.


The founding years.

Antonius is the son of Henricus Bolsius and Allegonda Smits – the daughter of an affluent beer brewer from Schijndel – who set up as a village doctor in Schijndel in around 1850. Antoon received preparatory education at the Fraters van Tilburg monastic order at Ruwenberg in St. Michielsgestel and continued his studies at the College van de Paters Jesuit order in Sittard.

After completing his studies, Antonius Bolsius (Antoon) set up a primitive wax bleacher in the garden of his childhood home. However, this place proved to be too dusty and he experienced problems with smoke coming from the bleacher into the open air. For this reason, his uncle gave him a piece of land beside the meadow at Kerkendijk, where the head office is still located to this day. The bleached wax was melted and packed and then sent to sextons and priests, who used it to make their own candles.

Antonius Bolsius passed away in 1906. He was nearly 57 and had never married. For this reason, the company was passed to two of his brother’s sons, Henricus (Harrie) and Godefridus (Frits) Bolsius.

This was the year in which Lambertus Bolsius started working with the wax bleacher. Lambertus is the eldest son of Henricus Bolsius. After his preparatory education, Lambertus went to the small seminary. Once he had completed his studies, Lambertus worked in the beer brewery of his uncle Mathijs Smits.

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