ISIS STURTEWAGEN, “Alle tsamen zo hebbelicken ghecleet”. Kinderkleding en dagelijks leven in de Brugse Bogardenschool rond het midden van de 16e eeuw.

Summary: “All together respectably dressed” Children’s Dress and Daily Life at the Bruges Begard School in the mid-16th Century

Both Zegher van Male’s (1514-1604) memorial of the Bruges Beghard school, a charitable institution that took care of young boys from the poorest families of the city, and its account books, give a unique and almost intimate peek into the multifaceted use of garments in a world created for and inhabited by children. From these sources it becomes clear that the most crucial purpose of clothing was that the boys would be comfortable in their clothes and well protected from the elements. From an organisational and financial point of view, it was deemed important that the clothes were not expensive and should last long. In van Male’s mind providing the children with comfortable and durable clothes went hand in hand with limiting expenses. Clothes, moreover, played an important part in the way the school wanted to present itself and their pupils to the outside world in public events and through gift giving. It was not only the quality and neatness of the clothing that was capable of conveying messages to the outside world. Compared to the clothes of other boys of their age, who would have worn a doublet, underpants and hose, the Beghard children were dressed like younger children. We can wonder whether this was for practical reasons or because it held ideological values. After all, like innocent young children, not yet able to look after themselves, the pupils of the Beghard school were completely dependent on the care and open handedness of Bruges citizens as other children depended on their parents.

JOHAN DE BRUIJN en JACCO HOOIKAMMER, “Als ze het maar netjes aandoen”. Nieuwe betekenissen van de Staphorster streekdracht.

Summary: “If they only wear it properly” New meanings of the traditional dress from Staphorst.

This article describes the traditional clothing in Staphorst on the verge of becoming  occasional dress. Staphorst, a calvinist village in the northern part of The Netherlands, is one of the few remaining places where traditional dress is worn everyday by a substantial number of women, and a few men. In this survey, some thirty people were interviewed informally to understand what it means to wear traditional clothing, and when and why people choose to do so. Four cases were investigated. Firstly, people presenting the traditional dress in the local museum, secondly, men in the local choir wearing traditional menswear, thirdly, women and children wearing the local costume visiting The Hague on Prinsjesdag (state opening of parliament), and fourthly, the Staphorst is hip (“fashionable Staphorst”) phenomenon, where people find inspiration in traditional dress.

These four cases show us some remarkable facts. Wearing the local dress may seem an exclusive right to the villagers, but according to public opinion, anyone may do so as long as it conforms to local customs. For women wearing the traditional dress, their clothes are a vehicle to express their main values. Not so much for the men joining the Staphorst men’s choir, where traditional dress is no more than a means to show uniformity. In this way, they do not differ from the committees organising the women’s and children’s visits to Prinsjesdag. They do not allow people to join the group in burger: everyone should wear the Staphorst costume. Within these margins, deviation from the norms is allowed. Clashing opinions can be seen in a new local trend, in which traditional clothing is re-used in more fashionable objects. Many people are either very positive, or very negative about this trend.

The local costume in Staphorst has been more than merely a way of everyday clothing for decades. It is a part of a culture of representation and special occasions. Quoting key ethnological literature, the search for authenticity will be a useless effort. Anybody wearing the traditional dress does so in his or her authentic way, expressing the village identity. Staphorst clothing is often seen as a cultural phenomenon that is slowly but surely disappearing. This article offers a different perspective on traditional clothing as a part of a dynamic culture in which folklore is meaningful and symbolic. New studies on traditional clothing in other parts of The Netherlands may turn out to be worthwhile.