Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hello from the Netherlands!

It's been a whirlwind since the end of the year. I got sick the day after my birthday, and spent some days on the couch. But I still had to do food last weekend for the big softball tournament my husband puts on each year at this time. Then last Tuesday I left for the Netherlands to stay with my friend in s.'Gravenzande (a small seaside village south of the Hague).
Being of Dutch ancestry, it's always fun to come and discover more of my family's culture. One thing that really fascinated me was when I discovered that there is more than one type of Dutch 'hat'. The one that everyone is familiar with is the one from the province of Vollendam. But there are 12 provinces in the Netherlands with several of them having hats that are unique to them. So I decided that it was something that I would like to collect. My friend Ted (her nickname) and I have been touring the different provinces on each of my visits to secure an authentic hat from the area. We have visited several museums and I have, at home, hats from Vollendam, Marken, Staphorst, and Spakenburg. I'll show pictures of those later. In the meantime, we decided on this trip to visit the Zeeland area. Zeeland used to be a series of small islands and was flooded in 1952 in which thousands were killed. That started the 'Delta Works'project, in which dams were created to lower when storms were coming in from sea so it would seal off the area. They are very well known and the engineering so magnificent, that the Dutch engineers were called into the US after Hurricane Katrina to maybe help New Orleans solve their problems. Anyway, Zeeland is now connected more and is known for tourism (they have wonderful beaches and natural parks), fishing (especially the mussels) and farming (apples, onions and potatoes).
Off we go to Middleburg, the capital of Zeeland, to the newly opened 'Zeeuws Museum'. It was closed for 7 years to be totally re-done, structure wise and content. It's a contemporary look at what was in the past. It was very nicely done and nice exhibits, but we only saw a few costumes and just the hats in nice showcases. And no such luck with finding a hat from that area. We happened to ask a clerk if she knew of any place that sold hats and she couldn't think of any. Someone overheard us and told us of a small shop just 5 km away, in Arnemuiden.
Arnemuiden is a very small village and we had no trouble finding the shop, de Troye. What a little gem! The owner was 75 years old and a wealth of information! He said when he no longer runs the shop, there is no one to take over and more than likely the area hats will no longer be made. In fact, most of what I was able to purchase was second hand, purchased from families that had older parents or whatever pass away and the family no longer wanted these old things. I'll show them separately.
The first set that I purchased was from the actual village of Armemuiden. Because Zeeland was once comprised of several small islands, several of the areas had their own costume. They typically had an underhat (ondermuts) (so graciously modeled by my friend!)that was worn on a daily basis and then an overhat (bovenmuts) that was worn on Sundays and special occasions. The set even had a 3rd bonnet, a satin blue bonnet, (blauwe tussenmuts) that was worn in between the layers to show a bit of color. And then what I found to be a real hoot was the little extra 'jewelry' they had. They were gold (or gold plated) spirals (oorijzers-ear irons) that were pinned on the inside of the hats and had charms on the ends. To get an idea of what it all looked like together, I took a picture of a doll with full costume.

Such a fun time we had in this little shop. My next post will be on the hats from the Walcheren area. Armemuiden is actually a village in this province, but remember they used to be separate.

So, I'm off for the day...more coming!


Pam said...

Great post. Sounds like you're having a good trip. Half of my children's heritage is Dutch - the family coming from Appledorn. It is a lovely country to visit. Have a great rest of your vacation -- thanks for thinking of us in the middle of your trip :)))

Patti said...

How fascinating! I didn't know that about the hats - like you I picture one hat style only. What a perfect thing to collect as mementos of your trips and your heritage!

Anonymous said...

Hey Karen
Thanks for your information and your enthusiasm. You can surely see you love not only what you do in the Quilt World but many other things too.
I'm very appreciative of your talents on many fronts!
and ..I love you...
Your husband!!

Laura said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! My husband and I just moved back from the Netherlands in August after 1 1/2 years on an expatriate assignment. I'm glad to be "home" but miss so many things in that beautiful country! Do you use Ted Storms quilting thimble? I could never get the handle of it - I should have taken a class while I was there!!