A view of Dutch families over time provide an interesting overview of clothing trends. These images are especially helpful as they provide
some idea of the type of family the boy came from and thus an indicator of which boys were wearing specific styles. These family images hlp to put boys' fashionsin context. Familiy photographs also provide information on what type of clothing other members of the family were wearing at any given time, including brothers of other ages, sisters, and parents. This will also help date some of the unidentified images that HBC has required.
This photo shows a large Dutch family in 1910. Tosay this fmily is almost unbelievable, but eas not all thsat common in the early-20th century. Farm families in particular were often quite large. Petrus Gerardus Jacobs and Joanna Quirina Buijs had 19 children. In the photo we can see 15 of their children. Three sons died as a babies and the last daughter, Maria, was born in 1911. The Jacobs were probably a Catholic family, not only because of the size of the family but because Maria became a nun and worked in Indonesia.
A Dutch reader tells us, "I've been able to resurrect some family snapshots photos that were handed down to me after my mother died. The pictures have my mother and her two older brothers (Rie [short for Maria], Jan, and Peter) with one having my mother's mother (Martha). My mother was born in 1919 in The Hague (Den Haag, Nederland), so I think the earliest one is from about 1921 and the other two a year and two years later. The children look to be about 4-10 years old. As you can see, in all three pictures, the boys wear sailor suits. This was very common fior middle class famikies at the time. Rie has a bow in her hair. Unfortunately, I never saw these while my mother was alive and didn't have an opportunity to ask her about them, so other than the names, the approximate date, and location, I have no further information on the snapshots. My apologies for the poor scans, but the originals are in very poor shape. I have done some gamma correction to bring out the contrasts but that washed out the photos some."
We note a formal studio portrait of the Veldcamp family. Mrs. Veldcamp is pictured sitting with her two sons and daughter. We do not know their first names. The children look to be about 10-16 years of age. Mother and daughter for some reason are wearing their coats. Both have stylish helmet-like period hats. The younger boy is weaing a short trousers suit with knee socks and a dark flat cap. This is a good example of the rather long short pants that were commonly worn in the 1920s. The older boy is similar dressed and obviously wears either short trousers or knickers. His flat cap matches his suit better. The flat cap was the standard boys' cap in America and while worn in Europe, was not nearly as common as in America. The boys suits are similar, but not identical. Both show Norfolk influences. We can't see the older boy's knees, so we don't know whether he is wearing knee socks or long stockings. Either is quite possible, but as his little brither wears knee socks, it is likely that he also dies. The photo is undated but pretty obviously comes from the mid-1920s in the Netherlands.
Frans Leferink was a 16-year old Dutch boy wuith an older brother. We see him in 1927 wearing a double-breasted knee pants or short pants suit. As we don't see the buttons at the knee hem, it would probably be best described as a short pants suit. We still see boys wearing formal knee pants suits in both Belgium and the Netherlasnds during the 1920s. And the short pants boys wore were often qyuite long at the time. Frans also wears a natty stripped tie and botinaire. Note the formal black long stockings. Frans is rather elegantly dressed. We suspect he came from a well-to-do conservative family. Frans Leferink was the youngest son of the B. J. Leferink family of the Netherlands. The family lived in the Twente section of eastern Holland near the German border. The family were farmers, shopkeepers, and tradesman. Frans's father seems to have owned a tobacconist's shop (which was called "Cuba" because of the imported tobacco).
This unidentified Dutch photograph shows a young Dutch family about 1930 (figure 1). Notice the boys bangs, short-cut short pants, and strap shoes. They seem to be a young family, although the boy looks to be about 4 years old, suggesting they have been married about 5 years. Almost cerainly he is the only child. This is an indicator that the Dutch like other Europeans are having smaller families. The boy's knit top was presumably knitted by mother or more likely grand mother. (Mother here looks like a modern young lady.) Notice how perfectly cut the boy's bangs are. Also notice how perfectly cuffed the boy's kneesocks are. We believe that he was rather doted on by his parents, although it is a little strange that mother is not holding the boy's hand.
We note an undated Dutch family snapshot. It looks to us that it was taken in the 1930s, perhaps the late 1930s. The family has three children, two boys and a girl. The boys are older teenagers. One boy wears a long pants suit and the others a knickers suit. Unfortunately the image is quite small makng it difficult to assess the age of the individuals. We have noted Dutch boys wearing knickers even in the 1940s and early 50s. This boy appears to be wearing above the knee knickers, somewhat unusual for an older boy.
We note the Van Djik family doing missionary work in the Dutch East Indies on Sumba in the Dutch East Indies during the 1930. The boys wear similar short pants suits. One boy has buttoned his collar. Both boys are barefoot even though they are wearing suits.
We have found some images of Dutch children wearing smocks. Unfortunately in many cases we do not know much about the images making it difficult to understand the conventions involved. One example is some Amsterdam children in 1933. Here we have a family photogrph of three children. We would guess that they are siblings. It isn't quite clear to me whether the child on the left is a girl or a boy, but I assume the child is a girl because of the longish haircut. The two older children look to be about 11-9 years of age. Their little brother looks to be about 6 years old. Now perhaps he is a cousin or a neigbor, but the body languages certainly suggests that he is the little brother. This looks to be a family snapshot and not a studio portrait. Note the flowers in the background as though the photographer was attempting to make a somewhat staged photograph. Two of the children are dressed identically in what look like smocks--perhaps school smocks. We have some questions anout the children's clothes.
The 1940s was a very difficult year for Dutch families. The Germans during Wold War II occupied the Netherlands (May 1940). The defeat of the Dutch Army was accomplished in only a few days and except in Rotterdam very little damage done. Except for Jewish families, Dutch families were not at first greatly affected. As the War dragged on, shortages of food and consumer goods like clothes and shoes developed. In this enviroment there was virtually no change in fashion, sty;es from the 1930s persisted. While little damage was done during the German 1940 offensive. the same was not the case with the Allied liberation. The Allies liberated the Netherlands south and west of the Rhine (September-October 1944), but the failure of Operation Market Garden left the Dutch beyond the Rhine still in German hands. Abd to punish the Dutch for their Allied sympathies, the Germans cut off food supplies. By the times the Allies finally crossed the Rhine and reached the Dutch (March 1944), they were starving. The immeditate post-War years afyer linration, continued to be diddicult with clothing scarce and families without adequate incomes. This did not begin to chnge until the end of the decade with the Marshall Pln (1948) and the first tenative steps toward European integration.
Conditions in the Netherlands began to improve with the Narshall Plan and the first steps toward European integration. Despite the huge duislocations and destruction of World Wae II, the Dutch economy recovered mazingly quickly. This ws reflected in living standards and the clothing worn. Incomes rose and families could affor to dress better than ever before. While boys acquired large wardrobes, fashins became much more casual than ever befire. Boys continued to wear short pants, although by the end of the decade knee socks were not as common and we see more boys wearing long pants. We see boys wearing open-toe sandals which were not common befoire the War.
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