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The idea behind Kapla developed around 1988, when the Dutch art historian and antique dealer Tom van der Bruggen moved to France in search of an old castle to restore.

During renovation, Van der Bruggen was inspired by the original wooden beam design of his old farmhouse and used small planks to fashion a scale model of the castle of his dreams. Those small beam planks became the game KAPLA. The name Kapla comes from the Dutch term for “gnome planks”, Kabouter Plankjes.