I want to cover all of Europe eventually, and i thought i would talk about the Netherlands today. Many people think of the Volendam costume when they think about Holland or the Netherlands. This is the costume which is replicated on all kinds of labels under 'Dutch Maid', with the peaked and winged cap. In fact, the costume is only worn in the one village of Volendam, and is not representative or typical of the Netherlands as a whole. Nonetheless, it is very famous, for reasons which are unknown to me, and so i will adress it first.
Volendam is in the province of North Holland, on the west coast of the [former?] Zuidersee. It is one of a handful of towns and villages in the Netherlands where the folk costume is still a living tradition with some people. You can see it here on this map.
There are three variants of the costume, which is why you may have wondered why different images did not look the same. There is the everyday costume, and the young girl's costume which resembles it, the Sunday go to Market costume, and the costume for special occasions, which is the one you most often see these days. I will start with a description of the last one, which is called the 'Bruiloftsgast' or 'Wedding Guest' costume. The foundation is a chemise, which has no sleeves, and a petticoat. The traditional costume is about ankle length. The chemise does not show when the costume is completed. Over the chemise is worn a 'kraplap', also called 'koplap' ' kralap' or 'kroplap', a type of double bib, similar to the overcollar found in some German costumes. It fastens at the neck and is secured on the bottom by ribbons on the front panel which thread through loops attached to the back panel. The kraplap is found in many Dutch costumes, and is often decorated. Mevrouw Kil will be showing us how to put on the costume.
Here are a couple of kraplaps from the early 1900's. These are made from printed cloth. I suspect that earlier they were embroidered, but i have no actual confirmation of that. An equivalant piece of the costume is still embroidered in Walcheren and Urk, and covered in beadwork in Axel, but made of a simple piece of printed cloth in Marken and elsewhere.
They are made in two pieces, front and back, one shoulder is sewn closed, and the other has a fastening. There is a piece of ribbon or lace around the neck opening. Today, the kraplap usually has a design of machine-embroidered satin stitch flowers, usually roses. Here is an example of a contemporary kraplap.
Around 1930 a family named Tol developed a way to mechanically spray paint Rose designs on a silk background using a series of templates This appears to be the precourser to the machine embroidered ones of today.
Here is an old photo of a girl with a nice smile, and no roses on her kraplap, but what look like embroidered flowers.
Here are some examples of the more common contemporary kraplaps.
Kraplaps made of printed material are also still worn.
When dressing up, an 'Edelkraal' is placed around the neck, made of several strands of coral beads and an ornamental buckle. You can see this on several of the images.
The skirt is then put on, the white and red striped skirt for the 'Wedding Guest' costume, otherwise a long full skirt in a plain dark color, most commonly black or navy. The women in Marken, just a few kilometers away, wear a very similar striped skirt, but always under the topskirt. They make fun of Volendamers for walking around in their 'underwear'. Over this is put on the 'kletje', a blouse or jacket of black wool with a bit of a peplum in back, and a couple of wide lappets in front. It has a square-cut neckline both front and back, which are edged with trim. The front closes with hooks. Here is Mevrouw Kil again.
Here is a back view of the kletje being worn, showing the embroidery on the kraplap.
Then the apron is put on over the kletje.The apron should be long and full. You can see cheap versions which are sometimes not made long or full enough. The apron has a tie which is usually made of an ornamentally woven band. For the 'Wedding Guest' costume, the apron is black, or perhaps another dark color, and the top part of the apron matches the kraplap. whether embroidered as here,
Or made of printed material.
When worn properly, the 'Wedding Guest' costume incudes a white kerchief worn over the shoulders and tucked into the front neckline of the kletje. Mevrouw Kil shows us how it should look.
For the Sunday and Market-day costumes, they wear a dark or black skirt, a striped apron, and a scarf woven or knitted from colorful yarn instead of the white kerchief.
The Market day apron is often decorated over the gathers at the top with colorful smocking.
The every day costume consists of a shirt made of printed cloth, consisting of small motifs set in lines, and a simple apron. The high lace cap is not worn, but the black undercap is.
Rules, are of course, made to be broken. Some women like the everyday shirt so much they wear it with their market day costume, sometimes with the full lace cap. When it starts to show signs of wear, then it becomes an everyday shirt.
This woman is obviously on her way to market.
The caps themselves are made of two symmetrical pieces for the body of the cap, derived from the round back of the standard bonnet, and two wings, derived from the rectangular piece that makes up the top and sides of a bonnet. I do not have an exact cut, but the good ones are made of very fine and beautifully made lace, and the wings are gathered and pleated to shape. There are some spectacular examples above, as well.
This high peaked cap is a relatively modern innovation, from around the turn of the 20th cent, in much the same way as the lace cap of Bigouden, in Brittany. Here is a famous painting of the Volendam costume made in 1865, showing a much more modest cap, albeit with similar wings. No other Dutch costume has a similar cap, although some are just as impressive.
You can see that she is wearing black leather shoes with silver buckles. The famous wooden shoes are indeed worn, but not to Church, and not inside the house. They are very practical in mud, sand, and doing dirty work outside. Also some dances rely on the clomp and clatter they make. If you wish to purchase some, get them one or two sizes too large, as you will need a couple pairs of thick socks and/or a sheepskin pad over the top of your instep and the top front edge to be able to wear them with any comfort.
One last variant is the girl's costume, which resembles the everyday costume, but has a matching rather plain blouse and skirt.
I hope that you have found this interesting. Maybe you will be able to get to Volendam and have your picture taken posing in this famous costume.
There are several sites online which make costumes.
Here is a website from which you can order Dutch costumes out of Orange city, Iowa.
Here is another one, This one offers kits, patterns, and Dutch fabrics, but their costumes are simplified.
Another website out of Holland, Michigan
And a very wonderful website from the fabulous OpenAir Museum in the Netherlands.
Here is a video showing some Voledam girls and one Marken girl in a Bulgarian line dance at some festival.
Here is a Dutch dance showing several of the better known costumes, including a couple of ladies in the Volendam. Unfortunately, much of the Dutch dance tradition that was mentioned in historical records has disappeared due to the influence of Calvinism.