The German word Goldhaube (gold headdress, hat or bonnet) is the generic term for different types of hat used with traditional costumes by women in southern Germany and Austria. These types of hats were used by burgesses in the cities from the 17th century onwards; later they were used by women in rural districts. They are characterised by silken and gold threads woven into a base material, and are decorated with gold embroidery, sequins, tatted lace (Lahn) and glitter (Flitter).
There are many different types of Goldhauben: for example, the Riegelhaube from Munich, the Reginahaube of the Allgäu, the Kranl, the Flinderhaube from Nuremburg, the Goldhaube of Linz, the Wachauer “Brettlhaube“, and the various types of halo-style headdresses — the Radhaube — as well as many more. The different types of Goldhaube and especially the Radhauben seem to all have been developed from the baroque Bockelhaube. These styles were worn by Catholics as Protestant women wore other styles of hat such as small pinners (Flügelhaube), a style used
in the 17th and 18th centuries, made of black moiré ribbons or the Black Forest Bollenhut (see Germany: Schwarzwald).
The most common form of gold headdress is the Reginahaube, a form of halo hat, which comes in numerous variations and sizes. The largest diameters (up to 50 cm) are found in the halo hats worn by the wives of rich farmers, millers or hostellers in the second half of the 19th century. These were made of golden or silver tatted lace in the hollow fibre lace technique (Hohlspitzentechnik), tulle and chenille. In addition, there are half-halo hats as a sort of preliminary stage of halo development, e.g. the Pfauenrädle, as well as bell-shaped hats, the Schirmhaube (Spitzhaube).
One of the best-known styles of golden headdress is the “Linzer Goldhaube” with its beautiful golden appliques made of sequins and golden threads, which was widely used throughout southern Germany and Austria (from Ulm in Bavaria, throughout the Danube valley to Vienna, in the Steyr, Krems, Alm, Ybbs and Erlauf valleys and down to Graz, Klagenfurt and Villach). It is still worn in Upper (and parts of Lower) Austria on festive occasions as a symbol of the well-to-do bourgeoisie.
The demise of regional costumes in the 19th century meant that most of the gold hat styles were virtually forgotten. Due to the renewal of interest in Trachten, they were again produced and worn on special occasions. Nowadays, their production is taught in courses as the large number of (wo)man hours needed (e.g. a Riegelhaube requires more than 300 hours, while a Villinger Radhaube in either silver or gold takes more than 400 hours) would mean they would be prohibitively expensive if not produced by the wearer.