A Dutch Boy (the 1960s-70s)

Figure 1.--I was very small for my age. Here I am at age 7 in 1971. I'm wearing a plaid holiday vest outfit with matching short pants that my mother made for me. It was beige brown. Mother made a similar outfit for me when I way 11 which I wore for Christmas with white anklesocks.

I was born on July 3, 1964 I grew up in the 1970s with a mother and father who were very strict and old fashioned. In my memories I wore all the time shorts and at an age most of my friends didn't wore them anymore. I thought my clothes were very childish and was teased a lot. I Had one comfort my nephews wore similar clothes although they were much younger. I remember in particular the first Christmas after I had begun wearing long pants during the Winter, but my mother insisted that I wear a short pants outfit that she had made for me.

My Family

I was born on July 3, 1964 I grew up in the 1970s with a mother and father who were very strict and old fashioned.


I was very smal for my age. At the age of 7 years I looked more as a boy of 4 years. I started really to grow at the age of 14 years with a speed. I started to grow so fast that everything hurted.

My Clothes

I remember as a boy wearing short pants all the time. This was at an age that most of my friends didn't wore them anymore. I thought my clothes were very childish and was teased a lot by other boys, especially boys at school. My parents took a lot of photographs of me, mostly diasnaps (slides) that they could show on a screen to visting relarives and friends. The few prints I found show me wearing in short pants in the summer. They look rather short compared to modern shorts, but that was the style then. In winter when I was in house I wore larger shorts. Wearing short pants in the winter was no longer common by the timr I was a boy, but it didn't botter me.

Figure 3.--This photograph of me at age 8 shows me wearing dark blue short pants.

Some other photographs show how I was dressed as a boy. One shows me as a boy of about 8 years old. The short pants I am wearing are more common for younger boys of 4-6 years. Another photograph shows me at age 8 years again I am wearing very short short stripped short pants. The stripes are white, red, white, blue, white and green. I'm wearing a knitted vest. My nephew the boy next to me is 12 and is wearing clothes that reflects the early 1970s. (As I mentioned above, I was very short as a boy.) Another photograph of me at age 8 shows me wearing dark blue short pants.

I was a good, well behaved little boy and didn't begin arguing with my mother about such matters until I was about 11 years old.

Christmas 1975

I remember in particular the first Christmas after I had begun wearing long pants during the Winter. It was 1975 and it was a family tradition when the family all came together to celebrate Christmas. In our family the boys were dressed in dress short pants until they were 10 years old. I was excited because I was feeling grown up and for the first time would be allowed to wear long trousers at a family gathering. I was no longer 10 years old, but my mother had a different idea. She said I looked cute in short pants and so for Christmas I had to wear a short pants outfit she had made specially for Christmas. It was a short pants outfit with matching vest as seen in the photograph here (figure 1). It was beige brown and I had to wear it with white anklesocks. In the photograph here I'm only 7 years old. I wonderd how I could wear the same outfit at the age of 11 but the answer was very simple. My mother made many of my clothes herself and liked some outfits so much that she made them more then once. My protest on the mater of what I would wear for Christmas were useless. I had to wear what my mother wanted in spite what the family tradition said. My family reacted as usual, because I was little they forgot my age so it was normal that I wore a short pants. only one aunt reacted but she was more concernd about the family traditions then the fact I was wearing shorts.

A Dutch Christmas

HBC readers might be interested in how Christmas is celebrated in the Netherlands. America inherited one of its important Christmas traditions from Holland--Santa Clause. The Santa Clause is, however a bit different in the Netherlands and the children do not put out cookies. They put out hay and water. Also he has a black side kick, Black Peter, rather than elves to help him. Black Peter keeps tab on who has been naughty or nice. Also there are horses rather than reindeer. Black Peter was criticised by some as not racially senstive, but that ontroversy appears to be abating.

My Nephews

I had an older brother. So as a young boy I became an uncle. I had one comfort about my clothes in that my nephews wore simular clothes, although they were much younger.

Figure 4.--Here I am in 1974. I was about 10 years old. It was a nice Spring day, but I was the only boy wearing short apnts at the zoo.

Zoo Visit

Concerning the point that I wore shorts all the time, maybe the photograph here illustrates this (figure 4). An aunt and uncle went to the zoo, they thought it was a suprise for me as they told me I could come with them. My mother was more enthousiastic than I was. I was allowed to go with my aunt and uncle but I was dressed in short pants. I remember destinctly that it was a beautifull Spring day but I was the only one at the zoo in a short pants. This phtograph is dated April 21, 1974 on the back. I was almost 10 years old. At first, I was a little shy but I remeber that I had a fine day. My aunt and uncle spoiled me and when they go out they asked my mother if I could go with them. It was a very good spring and summer.

Teen Years

I stopped wearing short pants at the age of 14 years. Even at the age of 13 years I wore shorts on a regular basis. I was used to it although it was exceptionel for boys at that age. I think this has to do with my height.

My Childhood

Although I was dressed very childish as a boy, I had a fantastic childhood. My mother is still a nice mother and somethimes she sighes. She wants to become a grandmother so she can spoil my children with al kinds of toys and sweets. The same way she spoiled me with all kinds of toys and sweets and a lot of love. But she has to wait a little longer. My wife and I are expecting in our first baby in March.


At school I wore the same clothes as all the other boys, I was the one who first wore shorts then in the following week as other parents had seen me walking in shorts my schoolfriends began to wear them as well. this was then the period that I start wearing them al days even when it rains, and the other boys wore long trousers when it rains. in this period they teased me a lot. but when it got warmer we (all the boys) wore shorts all days and stopped the teasing.


It was still normal that boys wore shorts in their summer holliday, so it was a period that I wasn't noticed as dressed different. The childish clothing I did weer when we were on holliday, as we were out of town or at a place where they didn't know me and they only saw a little boy dressed up nicely.

Reader Comments

An Australian reader comments, "I wore shorts too till 14 years old just like the little blond Dutch boy, although a lot of boys wore shorts at that age. I know how you feel buddy because my mum said I looked cute too and I had tons of aunties pinching the cheeks of my elfin face. What is it about young mums and aunties and little boys dimples? Can any body explain this in simple scientific facts?"

Harm Kolthof

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Created: August 30, 2002
Last updated: Septmber 2, 2002