The curtains, floor and ceiling coverings of every new Linssen yacht have one thing in common: they come from Frencken Wonen in Maasbracht. A family business known for generations for its craftsmanship in home furnishing and ship panelling. Jean Frencken runs the business with his brother Manolito and their partners Jacqueline and Sylvia. He can be found at the Linssen boatyard almost every week. “Linssen Yachts is an important customer for us, to whom we like to provide the best service.”

The cooperation between Linssen Yachts and Frencken Wonen began in the 1980s, Jean recalls. “Linssen Yachts purchased rolls of flooring from us. When a yacht was ready, my father Math had to come and cut the floor covering and then the job was done. Before we started doing this work for Linssen, two sisters of founder Jac. Linssen made the curtains themselves. Later, we took over and started upholstering the ceilings as well. We still do that today. We are also regularly asked for upholstery work on used yachts.”

Joiners and furniture makers

The name Frencken is synonymous with carpenters and furniture makers. It started with Dominicus Frencken (see also the box below) who was active as a joiner in Maasbracht in the 19th century. Many followed in his footsteps. Jean’s grandfather Sjeng Frencken founded the first machine workshop in Brachterbeek in 1936 and specialised in solid oak furniture. His son Jo later took over. On 2 February 1957, Sjeng opened a home furnishing business at Molenweg 20 in Maasbracht. This was run by Math Frencken, Jean’s father. Until late last year, Frencken Wonen was located at that site. Since 23 December 2023, Frencken Wonen has been housed in a large modern building at Molenweg 48a.

In the genes

Jean joined the family business in 1990 after studying at an interior design and furniture school in Rotterdam. His younger brother Manolito was trained as a carpenter and followed in 1995. In 2006, they took over the business from father Math and mother Diana. Whereas Jean deals mainly with curtains, interior blinds and floor coverings, Manolito is the man for PVC and wooden floors and ship panelling on motor vessels and passenger ships. Jean: “In that respect, my brother does more of the work that my grandfather Sjeng used to do, who was also always busy carpentering ships, building wheelhouses and making wooden ship hatches. That ship carpentry is in the Frenckens’ genes. My father and his brothers were also involved. And Manolito’s two sons are now also training as carpenters.”

Shop and sewing workshop

Jean’s wife Jacqueline works in the shop and advises customers. Sylvia, Manolito’s wife, manages the sewing workshop and supports Jacqueline. That sewing workshop is a key strength of Frencken Wonen, Jean explains. “Making curtains for a yacht is very different from making them for a home. It is much more customised and precision work. Some home decorators are afraid to venture into it. In a house, everything is straightforward. On board a yacht, you have to deal with all kinds of slants and variations, which means you have to constantly look for solutions to get everything to fit properly. In that respect, we have developed a certain routine.”

Quality in quality

Shipping is still important to Frencken Wonen, with Linssen Yachts as a valued regular customer. Jean: “I have to say that without Linssen Yachts, our business would not be where it is today. I think it’s great that such a successful company like Linssen works with so many local suppliers who, like them, deliver craftsmanship. So for such a loyal customer, we and our team are happy to go the extra mile when necessary. Linssen delivers a quality product, which also includes a piece of quality work from us. Isn’t that wonderful?”

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After all these years of cooperation, Frencken Wonen knows exactly how the processes run at Linssen Yachts. Jean: “I am often on site at Linssen. We have to provide on average 1.5 yachts a week with curtains, as well as floor and ceiling coverings. If something deviates from the schedule, we are flexible and adapt. It is pleasant to work here. Everything is well thought out. It is clean and attractive work and everything goes together in good harmony. Linssen Yachts is the best advertisement we have. If you say you work on Linssen’s yachts, you don’t have to make any further sales pitch. Things are then usually settled quickly.”

Do you want to know more about Frencken Wonen’s services? Then visit www.frenckenwonen.nl 

Dominicus Lievenheer

Jac. Linssen, founder of Linssen Yachts and historian, published a book in 1997 entitled Dominicus’ Lievenheer (‘Dominicus’ Lord’). The title refers to a beautiful oak roadside cross that stood on the corner of Heerenweg and Heuvelstraat in Brachterbeek from 1861 to 1884. Self-employed carpenter Dominicus Frencken, a distant ancestor of Jean Frencken, created this cross. It was named after his patron saint, St Dominic. Colloquially, it was soon called Dominicus Lievenheer. In 1985, a replica of the old cross was unveiled at the same spot.

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