Netherlands: Volendamm

Front view
Front view

General description Woman in the typical “Dutch” costume, though this originally was only worn in Volendamm and a couple of other fishing villages in the Northern Netherlands. She is wearing the more festive version for weddings, etc.

Dimensions 36 x 17 x 10 cm

Date when acquired Early 1970s

Original Date Early 1970s

Source Rotterdam, Holland. A present from my mother after a day trip to Rotterdam.



Plastic with movable eyes, arms and legs. Her hair is a very pale blonde, with a parting on the right and tied in two plaits with ribbons in the colours of the Dutch flag, red white and blue.


Back view
Back view


She is wearing a black nylon square-necked blouse with short sleeves. Around the neckline is a shiny white braid printed with a scene of typical Dutch windmills in black. The front of the blouse is closed with a piece of narrow dark blue braid. Under the blouse she is wearing a cotton double bib (kraplap) printed with pink and yellow flowers on a white background. Her long skirt is made of brushed cotton and has irregular stripes in blue, red, orange, yellow and green. Over her skirt is an apron made of the same black material as her blouse with an inset of the same floral material used for the bib. The ties of the apron are made of the same black-and-white windmill braid as used around her neckline. The woman has black lacy knee-length socks and a pair of wooden clogs on her feet.

On her head is the typical starched close fitting white lace cap with a point on the crown and two wings over the temples.


Side view of the cap showing peak and curved of the edges
Side view of the cap showing peak and curved of the edges


She has a red material choker around her neck and a string of red beads with a brass spiral pendant in the middle-.


Background information

Volendamm is in the province of North Holland, on the west coast of Lake IJssel (the former Zuidersee). Nowadays, Volendamm is a popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands, well known for its old fishing boats and the traditional clothing still worn by some residents.

The women’s costume of Volendamm, with its high, pointed bonnet, is one of the most recognizable of the Dutch traditional costumes as it has been used to advertise Dutch produce for a long time. It is often featured on tourist postcards and posters (although there are believed to be fewer than 50 women now wearing the costume as part of their daily lives, most of them elderly). The day-to-day version has a similar cut but the skirt is black or navy blue and the apron is striped.

Interestingly, Volendamm has its own customs which set it apart from the rest of the Netherlands. The people living there also have their own dialect, called Volendams. During the Reformation (16th century), the village remained Catholic unlike the people living in the rest of the area, so this costume showed that the women were of the Catholic faith.


Source(s) of information



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