Traditional Costume – Marken

This post will be about the traditional costume of Marken. Marken is a small town on what used to be an island in the inland sea the ‘Zuiderzee’. Around 1930, the ‘Afsluitdijk’ was built, a very large dike (or levee), which closed off the entire Zuiderzee from the North sea, making it into two very large inland lakes now called the ‘IJsselmeer’ and the ‘Markermeer’. This had a large impact also on the village of Marken, as the people lived off the sea. In the 1950s, the island was connected to the mainland with another dike  officially making Marken a peninsula.

A map of the Markermeer and IJsselmeer, including Marken.

Because it was an island for so long, the costume of Marken is quite different from many other traditional costumes in the Netherlands. It is, for instance, the only costume with a corset-like bodice.

The costume exists of a colorful striped underskirt and a dark over-skirt, a blue apron with a checkered top, a shirt with either dark blue (winter) or striped sleeves, an embroidered corset, and a red over-jacket with a square of flowered fabric pinned on. All together, the costume of Marken is very bright and colorful. The following are some images to get an idea of how the costume is built up.

This is the shirt worn under the corset and jacket. Only the sleeves show, so only these were made in the more expensive striped fabric.

Over this shirt, a corset, or bodice was worn. I always think it’s a shame that you can only see a hint of it between the skirt and the jacket, because they’re usually very beautiful.

This dressform is not wearing the overskirt or the jacket, so you can see the corset.

A shorter corset. This one has darker colors and purple, so is worn in mourning.

The red jacket, which is blue at the back, is worn over the shirt and corset.

This was called a ‘bouw’, and was pinned on the center of the jacket. It was always made of flowered cotton.

A drawing including the over-skirt, bouw, apron and the headwear.

Girls wore almost the same as their mothers, boys were also in skirts until a certain age. They could be distinguished from the girls as they wore a checkered instead of a flowered ‘bouw’, and a slightly different hat.

Little boys, 1943

The Marken costume has many variations, most noticeably those for weddings and Pentecost. These are some beautiful pictures of variations of the costume.

A bride costume, for the afternoon church service.

A bride, in the morning.

Pentecost costume

Daily wear for heavy mourning in summer.

The costume also has a very distinctive traditional hairstyle. A large part of the hair is brought forward and cut into bangs, and two large pieces are kept long at the sides to fall down in curls. The back is shaved off and is hidden below the hat. Obviously, this hairstyle only works if you wear the traditional head wear. This is what it looks like without the headdress.

Today, only 6 women still wear the costume and all of them are over 90 years old, which means that the costume will disappear from daily life very soon. The people on Marken still wear the costume on special occasions though, the most noticeable being Koninginnendag (the day when the Dutch celebrate the birthday of the queen), where they dress up in the orange version of the costume. (as orange is the color of our royal house)

The marching-band on Koninginnendag

A little girl on Koninginnendag

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One thought on “Traditional Costume – Marken

  1. Pingback: Traditional Costume – Marken | Atelier Nostalgia

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