Traditional Costume – Bunschoten & Spakenburg

The second post in a series about Dutch Traditional costume. The costume worn in Hindeloopen, about which I posted last, has been gone for over 100 years. In contrast, the costume of Bunschoten and Spakenburg is one of the costumes still worn today, with about 200 women who still wear it daily. The costume will be gone from daily life soon however, an estimate is that every year the number drops with 30, the costume being gone within the next 10 years.

The most iconic part of this costume is the ‘kraplap’. A kraplap is a rectangle of fabric with a hole in the middle, which is put over het head. The best comparison would be a shirt without the sides and the sleeves. The kraplap is present in many of Dutch traditional costumes, but in Spakenburg it has, over the years, become larger and larger and starched. The kraplap is the focus piece of the costume, and made of beautifully flower patterned fabrics. The older ones were made of Indian chintz, some ladies still have pieces of fabric from generations past which they still use in their costume.

A kraplapl lying flat.

The front view of a kraplap, the fold would be over the shoulders. The black/white combination signals light mourning.

A kraplap in a very lovely Indian chintz fabric. You can see that this one is older than the previous ones, as it is smaller.

When worn over the shoulders, the kraplap gives a very distinct silhouette to the wearer. They are actually quite un-practical, as it becomes impossible to stick out your arms to the front. When worn daily though, it will become a bit less stiff and all ladies wearing this daily are perfectly capable of doing all their work. The kraplap is worn together with two pieces of checkered fabric, white stripes on red. The front one has horizontal and vertical stripes and is pinned on the kraplap. The back one has the same type of stripes as the first, but with diagonal stripes. This one is stiffened with a piece of carton and tied together with a piece of string underneath the front of the kraplap. The shape over the shoulders is kept by white twill tape, pinned in place under the front piece of fabric and then taken through loops at the back of the kraplap and with hooks and bars attatched to the front.

Two young ladies in costume, around 1950-1960.

Aside from the kraplap, a black t-shirt is worn with checkered fabric sleeves pinned on with safety pins. A black skirt is worn, with over it an apron. On work days the apron is of checkered fabric, on sundays only the top is of checkered fabric and starched, and the bottom is dark blue. The sleeves and apron are usually of matching fabrics. The hair is rolled up over a hair-rat and worn in a bun underneath a starched white lace cap.

Ladies from the back. The leftmost one is wearing her sunday apron, the other two a daily apron. The rightmost is in light mourning, as seen from the colourless kraplap and the only blue apron.

Nowadays there are no children wearing the costume any more, except on special occasions, but they used to wear their own version of the costume. The girls wore a smaller kraplap, had a large black hat and a checkered apron dress  worn over the kraplap.

Spakenburg (1952) fotograaf:   Oorthuys, Cas #Utrecht #Spakenburg:

Schoolgirls, 1955. It is winter, so they are wearing jackets between the kraplap and the apron.