costume

To each island, its distinct costume

Until halfway through the last century, people regularly wore traditional costume in Zeeland. Now the bonnets, the gilt clasps, the aprons have all been hung away in the wardrobe. Plenty of local museums proudly show how people used to dress. You’ll see the differences in clothing and jewellery from island to island, place to place.

Traditional costumes

Different dress

People used to make a clear distinction between Sunday dress, work clothes and mourning attire. With each island community being isolated from the others, there were noticeable differences between their costumes. No wonder that Zeeland had more costume variations than any other province. Each island its own, with variations even between villages and localities.

Woman with traditional costume

Lost in fashion

Gradually, the costumes of Zeeland disappeared from public view. Social habits were evolving, there were practical issues and periods of poverty all helped to persuade people to hang up their proud outfits and wear ‘civvies’ instead. It was always the men who abandoned tradition first, followed by the children, and finally the women, By the end of the last century, almost no-one wore them anymore.

Girl with traditional costume

Costume preservationists

As fewer people wore traditional dress, so too rose the interest in them. Clothing, jewels and accessories found their way from the wardrobe to the museum. Throughout Zeeland there are groups committed to such attire keeping and restoring it, alongside the knowledge of how to wear it all. Special events often feature fashion shows in traditional costume. The goal is always to hold local dress high in esteem, and uphold their honour.

Women with traditional costume

Get your picture taken

Many local photographers will happily immortalise you wearing a local costume of Zeeland. Pull up your skirts, on with your bonnets, adjust that jet jewellery and lure that lens!

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