Our story

Three Kings has its origin in Kerkrade, a city in the south of the Netherlands. The idea for the brand came to founder René Schönefeld, son of a pharmacist, when he came across a recipe for church incense one day. René set out to find reliable suppliers in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. On his return, he started producing colorful incense mixtures and sold them all over Europe. Soon after, he was the first to develop quick-lighting charcoal – which drew the interest of European religions, Middle Eastern bakhoor users and shisha smokers. The rest, as they say, is history.

Contact us

Founders and owners

Three Kings was founded by René Schönefeld in 1936. In 1970, Leo Heijmans, who joined the company in 1945, took over the company and sold the business to the Koster family thirteen years later. The Koster family was well-known for their beeswax refinery Koster Keunen, which has been established in 1852. Both companies had a loyal group of customers in the religious supply chain, so selling the company to the Koster family seemed like a logical choice.

After the takeover, the Koster family built a larger, more modern factory in the Dutch town of Bladel. To this day, René Schönefeld remains in the hands of the Koster family, with Gerben Boersma at the head of the company.

Our people


Three Kings charcoal is made of European, 100% untreated natural beech wood leftovers from sustainable forestry. We are also part of the global Incense Alliance, guaranteeing sustainable use of incense trees in Eastern Africa. There are many challenges threatening the supply of incense, such as overharvesting, climate change and political instability. To combat these challenges, René Schönefeld plays an active and leading role in protecting incense trees.

Our ingredients
Frankincense trees in Tigray Ethiopia | Picture by: P Groenendijk