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Walcheren Klederdracht

by William Minnick

Our next costume highlight is from the region of Walcheren in Zeeland, and the costume that the 2024 Tulip Court will be wearing.

Walcheren is a region and former island in the province of Zeeland. Many of the traditional costumes of Zeeland share major similarities, but there are a couple of characteristics that set Walcheren apart.


First are the metal spial oorijzers which frame the face and are adorned with metal pendants. Other regions of Zeeland, like Zuid-Beveland, have square gold plates as oorijzers.

Another defining feature is the beuk. This breast cloth was traditionally adorned with detailed embroidery of symbols representing the wearer's life and beliefs. This intimate detail faded out toward the end of the 19th century and now most commonly is replaced with a plain white embroidered breast cloth.

Embroidered Beuk

As headwear, Walcheren women would wear a Swiss laced under cap with a langettenmuts (lace and ribbon cap) over the oorijzers and under cap. The Queen and her Court are wearing a kaphoed that goes over the langettenmut and was traditionally made of Italian straw and lined with silk.

Men's costumes consisted mainly of black corduroy or velvet.

The most flashy part of the costume is the klepstikkens (frontpieces) of the trousers. These are two large metal pieces on the front waist of the trousers. Traditionally these were coins with the coast of arms of the Netherlands.

On the ride seam of the trousers was a place for men to place a large knife with an ornate wooden carved handle. These knives were a form of folk art for farmers and consisted of agricultural and Biblical scenes.

Over the 19th century, the Walcheren costume became increasingly more somber. This was due to a couple of reasons. For example, many villages experienced frequent deaths from illness and flooding. Oftentimes, these villagers were all fairly closely related and large portions of the community found themselves in mourning. Due to the frequency of death, some generations rarely found themselves out of mourning, causing fashion trends to lean closer to mourning dresses and highlighting darker colors and simpler patterns.

Another reason would be for increased religious beliefs and conservatism. Many clergy preached the Devil's hand in the desire to wear bright and attractive clothing.


Nederlands Openluchtmuseum

Nederlands Fotomuseum

The Memory Database

The Costumes of Holland by Nieuwhoff, Diepraam, and Oorthuys

William Minnick is a recent graduate of Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He holds a degree in history and public relations. Having grown up in Orange City, Minnick was immersed in community affairs, particularly in events promoting Dutch heritage through the Tulip Festival, and has taken a special interest in Dutch cultural and historical studies. Today, he is a contributing writer for the Dutch Heritage Booster's blog page and aids in the running of the organization's social media and marketing.


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