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Art in a box.

What do Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and numerous other artists have in common? Their works of art have all traveled with Hasenkamp. The service provider transports all manner of cultural artifacts – reliably, worldwide and in close cooperation with Lufthansa Cargo

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“Art is what you can get away with,” reads the framed quote on the wall behind the desk belonging to Klaus Knies. The freight forwarding specialist has been head of the Hasenkamp branch office in Frankfurt since the late 1990s. The Andy Warhol quote in his office is indicative of the way this Cologne-based logistics company handles objets d’art.

Hasenkamp never questions whether something might be considered art. Instead the company acknowledges that each art object to be transported has its own intrinsic and irreplaceable value; and this value is not primarily measured in monetary units but rather in emotional and idealistic dimensions.

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As a result, the logistical processes are even more painstaking. Paintings, sculptures, art installations and all manner of cultural artifacts are handled with kid gloves – quite literally. “Art never forgets, and art never forgives,” says Klaus Knies describing the company philosophy behind the day-to-day work at Hasenkamp. All potential risks have to be explored in order to get the objects safely to their destination. And in many cases, that requires time-consuming preparation.

“What makes our job so thrilling is that no two transports are alike,”

says Knies. One particularly memorable occasion to him was a vintage car exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal in Canada: a chartered jumbo jet freighter flew the vehicles – unique cultural treasures – from Germany across the Atlantic. “It was an unforgettable image seeing these beautiful vintage cars lined up on the apron before they were loaded into the cargo bay.”

For years, art experts have commissioned Lufthansa Cargo with transporting the bulk of their airfreight tonnage, more than 80 percent most recently. For the most part, Hasenkamp books the special product Safe/td2. “We know that we are placing our works of art into the hands of skilled and trained personnel,” says Klaus Knies. 

And not only that: the precious goods are transported in sealed containers, and as long as they are on the ground, they are stored in security restricted areas. The transport chain is seamlessly documented, enabling the customer to monitor the transport at all times. Hasenkamp also uses the product td.Pro for a fraction of its consignments: the standard product from Lufthansa Cargo ensures both a cost-effective and reliable transport.

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When it comes to transporting particularly sensitive and highly valuable goods, Hasenkamp is the market leader in Europe with well over 100 years of experience. Founded in 1903, the company has been managed by four generations of the same family. With a staff of around 600 employees, it has branch offices in 37 locations around the world. 

Its Frankfurt office is located within easy reach of the airport and Lufthansa Cargo’s most important hub. Three climate-controlled halls offer enough space to store and transship the valuable consignments. 

Wooden crates in all sizes stand here, and very often they have traveled a long distance. They contain treasures from famous and less well-known artists. Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh – even the greatest masters have “traveled” in Hasenkamp’s crates. 

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These crates are little works of art in their own right: each is purpose-built to package the artifact by carpenters and metalworkers at the company’s own production workshop in Cologne. The silence in the warehouse is remarkable, and there is a good reason for this as Klaus Knies explains. “Calmness and cool-headedness are of paramount importance in our business. That is what we need to project to the customer in order to convey reliability and trust.”

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In many years of cooperation, Hasenkamp has built up a sound relationship of trust to its customers, which also include private individuals alongside museums and art galleries. “The art world is a village,” says Knies, a small community in which people know each other well. That makes social interaction all the more crucial. “It’s important to have a keen sense of whom you’re dealing with,” says Knies and reveals his own maxim: “I try to treat everyone I meet with respect.”

Many works of art are priceless and need to be specially secured during transport. Musicians on tour rely on the proper transportation of their instruments. These are only two examples for the logistical requirements involved in art and culture – requirements which Lufthansa Cargo understands from long years of experience and which it is in an excellent position to fulfill with these products:

  • Safe/td2 – for highly desirable shipments

  • td.Flash – for urgent shipments

  • td.Pro – for standard freight

  • Courier.Solutions – for personally supervised transit


Stefan Wildhirt