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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#726 PIATNIK – HEINZELMÄNNCHEN (Nr.4052) (1976)

This set of cards is based on the works of Will Huygen and Rien Poortliet, who in the 70s created and released several books about these creatures from the forest. Although originally from Holland, those books where soon translated to other languages, so at least in Europe they are more or less well known.

In Spain, however, I cannot remember those books, but anyone over 30 years will inmediatly recognise these characters from the TV cartoon series “David, el Gnomo”. This cartoon was a coproduction between Spain and Japan and was cordinated by BRB International, a company that during the 80s created many unforgettable cartoons. This one is one of the most mythical ones.

The series was aired for the first time in 1985 and 1986, but then has been repeated several times during the next 20 years. Of course, after the great success of the cartoons, many books were published, so I guess at some point the original books from the Dutch creators were also available in Spain.

The deck of cards has 8 families (32 cards) plus one cover card and came in a so-called “soap-box”. The copyright is from 1976, although the copyright and the year of manufacture are most of the times two different things.

Each family is devoted to one aspect of the life of the Heinzelmännchen: which types are there, how do they look depending on their age, what do they do for a living, who are their enemies, what do they do during a normal day, what things do they have at home, which animals are their friends and other customs they have.

Needless to say that the illustrations are beautiful, and that I can imagine that these books caught the attention of kids at the time. The gnomes, kabauter, Heinzelmännchen or gnomos have today a certain “cult” status in most European countries. I am aware of many toys (for example PVC figures) based on these characters, but unfortunately, I do not have any.

  • Name: HEINZELMÄNNCHEN (Nr.4052)
  • Year: 1976
  • Company: Piatnik (Austria)


  1. This set is awesome! Rien Poortvliet was such a talented artist, I love his work. I still have my "De Kabouter" book about the different gnomes, I treasure it :-). Thanks for this article!

  2. Hi Sabrina, Thanks for the comment! I assume those books have been reissued many times. If you see the pictures now, they are completely "in" and modern again. I wouldn't be surprised if the books would still be sold in bookstores today.


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