About us

The story behind our Karsten Tents

the beginning

1981

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1974, my parents and my uncle started an outlet store on Dorpsstraat in Zwaag. Back then, everything was in the shed and the greenhouses behind our house. We sold pretty much everything, from clothes to bikes to wood. As a little girl, I loved helping out. I would sort trousers, help clean up, and do whatever needed to be done. When I was pregnant with our eldest daughter, I decided to join the family business permanently.

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1974, my parents and my uncle started an outlet store on Dorpsstraat in Zwaag. Back then, everything was in the shed and the greenhouses behind our house. We sold pretty much everything, from clothes to bikes to wood. As a little girl, I loved helping out. I would sort trousers, help clean up, and do whatever needed to be done. When I was pregnant with our eldest daughter, I decided to join the family business permanently.

Maarten Takken joins the Karsten Tents team

Maarten started working for us at just fifteen. It started out as a Saturday job, but he liked work more than school and would sometimes even skip class to come in to work. He repaired tents that had been damaged during holidays. My father, Gerard Karsten, recommended him for a sail-makers training course. I brought him more than a few cups of tea back then. My mother had for a while that we liked each other. When I was fifteen, that's when sparks really started to fly, and we've been together for many years now. In 2001, Maarten and I took over from my parents.

Maarten started working for us at just fifteen. It started out as a Saturday job, but he liked work more than school and would sometimes even skip class to come in to work. He repaired tents that had been damaged during holidays. My father, Gerard Karsten, recommended him for a sail-makers training course. I brought him more than a few cups of tea back then. My mother had for a while that we liked each other. When I was fifteen, that's when sparks really started to fly, and we've been together for many years now.

The invention of the inflatable tent

"We used our last few guilders to pay for a booth at the Camping & Caravan trade show at the RAI."

The business wasn't doing very well then. We used our last few guilders to pay for a booth at the Camping & Caravan trade show at the RAI. The tents were being sewn together on a ping-pong table. Because there just wasn't enough money to buy a sewing table. My mother sewed our log onto cheap sweaters from V&D and we were ready to start presenting Maarten's invention. The crowd of people around us quickly started to grow. All the TV cameras were pointed at us, we were getting a national premier! That was the beginning of our new start. The success allowed us to scale up to 40 employees almost overnight.

While Marie JosΓ© handles the business side of things, Maarten is the creative genius of the pair. When he was repairing an English work tent with hoses, Maarten was struck by the idea for an inflatable tent. No more messing about with tent poles or complicated instructions, but a tent you can set up in a snap.

An in-house workshop, to guarantee the best quality, personal service and bespoke products

The tent has gone through many changes over the years in materials, layout, and awnings. Karsten Tents has really listened to their customers. Because they're the ones with experience in where there's room for improvement. The decision was made to set up an in-house workshop in Zwaag, where the tents are designed and produced. That allows Karsten Tents to maintain control over the quality, because a Karsten Tent should last for many years. In addition to the unique inflatable camping tents, the company also produces professional work tents under the name Tentworld Unlimited. The special tents include tents for the fire service, the military, and the construction industry, so work can go on, regardless of the circumstances.

The tent has gone through many changes over the years in materials, layout, and awnings. Karsten Tents has really listened to their customers. Because they're the ones with experience in where there's room for improvement. The decision was made to set up an in-house workshop in Zwaag, where the tents are designed and produced. That allows Karsten Tents to maintain control over the quality, because a Karsten Tent should last for many years. In addition to the unique inflatable camping tents, the company also produces professional work tents under the name Tentworld Unlimited. The special tents include tents for the fire service, the military, and the construction industry, so work can go on, regardless of the circumstances.

An in-house workshop, to guarantee the best
quality, personal service and bespoke products

Despite all the growth over the years, the sense of family still remains important. Karsten Tents has a large camping and outdoor store with quality brands and expert staff: the Karsten Travelstore. In this huge, 10,000 mΒ² store, customers can find everything they need for camping and life in the outdoors.

Despite all the growth over the years, the sense of family still remains important. Karsten Tents has a large camping and outdoor store with quality brands and expert staff: the Karsten Travelstore. In this huge, 10,000 mΒ² store, customers can find everything they need for camping and life in the outdoors.

"We want to help people have the most comfortable camping experience possible, so they can really enjoy the outdoors around the world. That's what we do this for, every day."


Marie JosΓ© Takken-Karsten
Made in HollandMade in Holland