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 mostly on beer-brewing products. Being from a pharmacists family, one day, he came across a recipe for church incense. This 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 colourful incense mixtures. René Schönefeld sold these unique blends 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, Three Kings 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. In religious ceremonies, charcoal was needed to burn the incense, hence Three Kings took this opportunity to expand their product range.

Three Kings entered a new market, the charcoal industry. They were the first enterprise to develop and introduce the quick-lighting charcoal which interested many prospective buyers. Not only traditional European religions saw the benefits of the Three Kings charcoal, but Middle Eastern bakhoor users became fans of the product as well. Moreover, when waterpipe users became aware of the extraordinary characteristics of the charcoal, the brand’s growth took flight.

Due to the great growth of the two product lines, Three Kings decided to give their incense and natural resins a new brand identity. Since 2021, their unique incense blends and natural resins are sold under a new brand name, René Schönefeld.


  • 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
  • 2021 – Establishing a new brand for incense and natural resins called ‘René Schönefeld’


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