The brand Three Kings was founded in 1936 by a Dutch pharmacist’s son from Venlo, named René Schönefeld. He previously owned a business that focused, among other things, on beer-brewing products. Being from a pharmacists family, he came across a recipe for church incense one day, which is what inspired him to explore sources of incense in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Once he had found reliable suppliers, he started to produce various colorful incense mixtures and sold them, first in the Dutch regions of Brabant and Limburg, and later all over Europe. The brand Three Kings was born.


Due to a strong focus on product quality, René Schönefeld managed to secure a leading position as an incense manufacturer in the Dutch, European and global market. Over time, the incense market shifted from primary use for medicinal purposes to use in religious ceremonies. This meant René had to expand his product range, as charcoal was needed to burn the incense that was used in religious ceremonies.

When he introduced charcoal as part of his product range – and was the first to develop quick-lighting charcoal – René entered a new market. Not only traditional European religions saw the benefits of Three Kings charcoal, but Middle Eastern bakhoor users became fan of the product as well. And especially when waterpipe users became aware of the characteristics of the charcoal, the brand’s growth took flight.

Today, we sell charcoal and unique incense blends all over the world.


  • 1936 – Company founded in Kerkrade in the Netherlands, start incense sales in Dutch regions of Brabant and Limburg
  • 1947 – First Dutch factory in The Hague, located on the ‘Frankenslag’
  • 1955 – Move to a new factory just outside of The Hague, in Scheveningen
  • 1982 – Construction of a new factory in the Dutch town of Bladel
  • 1983 – Start production of incense and charcoal in the new factory
  • 1983 – The company is sold to the Koster family


Read more about our story