This type of traditional decorative art originated in the northern province of Friesland, The Netherlands.
It is a form of
folk art painted by the maritime community of Hinderloopen, (a small
town on the Zuiderzee). During times of bad weather when there was no fish to sell, sailors/fisherman would turn to painting as a way to pass the time and make some money.
Hindeloopen sailors traded with other Hanseatic league member countries - especially Norway, and often brought home objects painted in other traditional styles that had developed from the Baroque art, primarily Norwegian Rosemaling. The presence of these styles in the community, in turn, influenced the development of the Hinderlooper's own village painting, until it evolved into the Hindeloopen art that we see today.
The first two photos are modern and antique pieces
found in the town of Hindeloopen itself.
The last photo is my own Hindeloopen
paintings, in a tecnhnique called Porcelainizing, pattern by Jacques Zuidema.
Read more about this type of Dutch Folk Art you can read my
article by clicking on this link:
Exactly where would you go to see traditional folk art in
On a recent trip to the
Unless you are lucky enough to sail directly into its harbour, it will take you several hours and more than a few changes of trains to reach the small Dutch
Hindeloopen provided a safe harbour from the tyranny of the rough inland sea (the ZuiderZee), and as such it had always been an important trading centre with other nations in the Hanseatic league, and even the Far East since the 13th century;
so it is no surprise the villager’s culture and art absorbed foreign influences. Even the language spoken in Hindeloopen, has more in common with Scandinavian dialects than it has with the Dutch language.
Today, the summer visitor to Hindeloopen will see grassy dykes along the ZuiderZee, dotted with grazing sheep, a harbour bustling with tourists and luxury yachts, colourful rowboats in Hindeloopen’s sleepy canals, gardens bursting with lush hydrangea blooms, but more significantly to the folk artist, an amazing collection of painted wares and studios.
PAINTING STUDIOS in HINDELOOPEN
Traditionally, the men of the village who paint; the woman and wives merely operate the shopfront, so my questions on the technical aspects of painting remained unanswered, but, on reflection, I thought this might inadvertently help protect this unique cottage industry from contemporary influences.
At the town’s hotel, I found examples of Hindelooper folk art including a Spinning wheel, a six-sided High Chair and a Bridal suite complete with “box- bed” in the wall. Whilst dining at the nearby pancake cafe, I noticed every chair and table was painted in Hindelooper florals by Gauke Bootsma, who operates the neighbouring shop that is brimming with a stunning array of folk art.
The sheer quantity of works in Bootsma’s shop is absolutely overwhelming. Although his work is in a contemporary light, airy style called, ‘Basic Hindelooper’, his larger items, of furniture and serving trays are decorated with a detailed panel,
depicting village scenes, sailing boats, Hindeloopen Sluitshouse (Lock House) or Dutch windmills. The shop’s display is
themed around the traditional background colours of Hindelooper ie: one room is full of pieces painted on stained timber backgrounds; another has monochromatic white designs, on dark blue, another, designs on green backgrounds, whilst still another has Hindelooper motifs painted on white and mid-blue backgrounds.
Whilst browsing the many cabinets, wine racks, gate-leg tables, milk cans and smaller items in this shop, I spotted the artist, (who was once destined for a career in seafaring like his Harbourmaster father), hard at work upstairs in his studio, producing yet another beautiful Hindelooper item.
Directly opposite the town’s Hotel, is the studio of Harmen Zweed who paints in the Classic style. There is a ‘must see’ door lavishly decorated with biblical motifs, fruit, detailed flowers and scrolls, painted with a translucency and illusion of depth not seen in the Basic style. The six-sided traditional high chair gives the visitor a hint of what the Zweed’s kitchen must be like, which is painted completely in Hindelooper .
According to Jenny, (the painter’s wife), who operates the shop, there are ten colours traditionally used in Hindelooper painting, with the predominant floral motifs being the Dogrose, Star flower and Carnation, but tulips may sometimes be used.
You will find several other painting studios in Hindeloopensuch as Iekoon and Meine Visser's shop. Het Roosje’s studio, established in 1894, almost a museum in itself, contains expertly painted stair-stools for alcove wall-beds and furniture, but also specialises in woodcarving.
Harmen Glashower’s stunning painting is impressively detailed, but his shop is open only upon request, although I did find him working in the nearby Dutch Fabric shop. The shop stocks the traditional chintz fabrics used in the Hindeloopen folk costumes, and has a photographic catalogue of Glashower’s painted work available for browsing.
HISTORIC FOLK ART in MUSEUMS
The Museum Hidde Nijland Foundation located in the Town Hall (circa 1683), is the place to view Hindeloopen’s painting heritage. Not only is there an enthralling collection of colourful tines, bowls, and cupboards, but also furniture and staircases for wall-beds, dating back to the 17th and 18th Century. My personal favourite was a wall panel in blue on a
white background, with bird and floral motifs. I noted a faux marble finish was often incorporated into the rim or side of an object. The display of traditional and brightly coloured folk costumes and Dutch tiles are inspirational in colour and design.
If you travel to this part of
During my journey to Hindeloopen, a Dutch-born Frisian artist who had immigrated to
One interesting tale began with a Sea Captain from Stavoren, (a village close to Hindeloopen), who wanted to impress a pretty girl from his village. Whenever the sailor returned home from his journeys to the
Sadly, the pretty lady rejected his gift and refused to marry him. The sailor was so saddened, he emptied all of the ‘golden grain’ into the town’s harbour, causing the
I took an English speaking tour at the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, the Delftware factory dating back to 1653, (the Dutch Golden Age). Not only did I see magnificent Delft Blue antiques, (even in the ladies toilets), but I got to watch the artists at work, painting new earthenware plates and vases. It was interesting to note that prior to painting, the artist traces the designated pattern in carbon, using strategically placed dots, made through holes in the tracing. The designs are painted in black paint, and the firing process burns off the carbon dots, and changes the black paint to the familiar
Amanda McLaughlin copyright 2005
Further links of interest pertaining to the content of this article:
May 29, 2008 by C. R. Dimalla
"Hindeloopen culture originated as a visual art form typically as ornamentation on wood furniture. This soon transcended itself in the textiles of the Hindeloopen people. The product of such a mixture was the use chintz (colorful cotton embellished with floral accents) in the early 19th century. The use of such Chintz could indicate the marital status of a woman, but was also left strictly for formal occasions. The Dutch Chintz designs differ obviously from victorian damask and other floral textiles in their original color schemes. There is also a certain quality of line unique to the Dutch and an apparent lack of realistic representation."