Stop Burglary in the Netherlands: LIPS

30 october 2021

Are you living in the Randstad, Netherlands?
And has the fear of your home being burgled other than the omniscient fear of losing your bike ever gripped you?
Have you ever in that moment of fear had a close look at your bunch of keys?
Well, if yes, you might have noticed some letters inscribed on them.

Stop Burglary in the Netherlands: LIPS

On mine I have noticed: LIPS, MAUER, VSB, NEMEF. I used to differentiate between my keys using those letter inscriptions. Does any of these inscribe your keys as well or do you already belong to smart locks generation? Let us know in the comments below. So, one out of these, which has particularly caught my curiosity is the inscription: LIPS. It made me always curious to know why the brand is called: LIPS. I used to wonder if it has anything to do with “that visible body part which is at the mouth of many animals(sic)”? 😀

If this curiosity resonates with you too and if you want to know something interesting about LIPS and it’s relation to burglary, please continue reading. While there are places in the Netherlands like Texel, where the fear of burglary could be equated to almost zero, following data from CBS (Statistics) Netherlands, depicting burglary stats from the years 2010-2020, confirms this is not the case at places elsewhere in the Netherlands.


And yes, this is not a new case. Stats are not available but research shows that burglary has been here since ancient times. So are the ways to prevent and protect against it. And so have been the ways to advertise about those means of protection and prevention.

There have been many brands working in this direction. LIPS is one of them. It is a Dutch brand with a lot of stories and a history of over 150 years. It was founded by Jacobus Lips. LIPS' story begins with Jacobus Lips settling in Dordrecht, Netherlands in 1870 and continues today with ASSA ABLOY and NAUTA.

LIPS has been such an important part of Dordrecht’s history that there was even a museum called LIPS Sloten (Locks) Museum. But as LIPS got acquired by other companies, the collection from LIPS Sloten Museum moved to Dordrecht Regionaal Archief.

Dordrecht Regionaal Archief in its article about LIPS states, that not only did LIPS used latest techniques of its times in the 19th century to manufacture locks and safes but also used innovative advertising campaigns one of whose ad-copy went like this, “I am the biggest burglar in the world and can open all locks, except the LIPS’ locks, because they are too powerful even for me”. You can read the interesting article here.

Sharing with you one of the leaves from that advertising history collected by Design Museum Dedel, here is an advertisement poster from the period: 1980-01-01 - 1990-12-31, by LIPS: the Brandkasten- en Slotenfabriek(Safes and Locks Factory).

Source: here

Graphic design student volunteering at Design Museum Dedel, Rocio Vazquez’s expertise says that color gradations and overlapping inks on the poster indicate that it’s an illustration created using lithographic technique, modified version of which is also used in present times. About the typography she says, “it’s a stencil typography which is normally used in a street context”.

In 1971, LIPS was taken over by British Chubb and was with them until 2000. This indicates that this poster has been created by an artist under Chubb’s aegis. To have a look at LIPS’ advertisement material created before 1971 watch the video below.

With this, I come to an end of this blog post. I hope it was able to both satisfy and kindle your curiosity.

Do let us know if you found this stuff interesting and if you have any additions to make in the comments below. Also, if you find it worthwhile, share it with your friends and family.

The poster collection is made accessible by the collaboration between Design Museum Dedel and Reclame Arsenaal (IADBB). For more such interesting stories subscribe to our blog, follow us on Instagram and maybe visit our museum.

Chandrita Jaisinghani
Chandrita is a lifelong learner passionate about writing, creation, and marketing. She loves accessing and assessing her inner self through poetry and literature. Learn more about her on her website. You can also reach her at