** individual Dutch boys

Dutch Boys' Clothes: Personal Experiences

Figure 1.--Rien Poortvliet wrote a wonderful account of his childhood growing up in the Netherlands entitled "Dutch Treats". It includes a section on the World War II era. The book is especially interesting to HBC because he describes his childhood clothing in some detail.

The Netherlands is a small country which nof course affects the information avaialble. HBC at this time only has a few persoanal accounts about Dutch boys. Some are published literary accounts that we have noted. Others are personal accounts that HBC readers have kindly shared with us. As a resultwe have several valuable accounts to add to our Dutch arrchive. Hopefully more Durch readers will add to these accounts as HBC develops so that we can better understand Dutch fashion trends and a little more about Dutch history and customs.

The 1930s

A Dutch Boy (The 1930s-40s)

I was born in 1928. I grew up in a small village in a rural farming community. I can recall the kinds of clothes that we boys wore at the time, including what was worn at out local school.

Dutch Treats (The 1930s-40s)

Rien Poortvliet wrote a wonderful account of his childhood growing up in the Netherlands entitled Dutch Treats. It includes a section on the World War II era. The book is especially interesting to HBC because he describes his childhood clothing in some detail. He had definite likes and dfislikes. He wore a white sailor suit as a boy. He didn't like long stockings or woolen knit bathing suits. There is an English addition with a translation by Maria Milne. HBC readers would find the book an interesting read.

Dutch Boy in the East Indies (1930s-40s)

Frank Neijndorff has written a lovely account of his boyhood in the Dutch East Indies. It is titled Achterom Gekeken (A Backward Glance). The book gives an account of his boyhood growing up in the Dutch East Indies. Three periods are covered. First: the last years of undisputed Dutch colonial rule (1929-42). Second: World War II anf life under the Japanese occupation (1942-45). Third: the period after the War during which sovereignty over the archipelago was disputed between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Indonesian Republic (1945-49) . The book may be ordered from the author. The author maintains a Dutch-language website.

The 1940s

Dutch Catholic Boy (1942)

This unidentified Dutch Catholic boy was photographed in 1942 during the German occupation. The boy seems to be about 10 or 11 years old. We know that the family was Catholic but little else, which may explain the conservatism of the dark single-breasted suit with black long stockings. A somewhat unusual feature is the white necktie, hard to see when worn with a white shirt, and so long that it covers part of the upper section of the short trousers. It also looks as though the tie is very loosely tied because of a gap at the collar. I wonder if the white neck tie has some connection with the church--possibly first communion, although there is no sleeve bow or special candle, and the lad seems a bit too old for first communion at the age of eleven or so. The white tie may be simply a feature of formality, but he looks dressed up for church or for some other event like a family photo.

The 1950s

American Boy in the Netherlands (1950s-60s)

Even though I was an American kid, the remains of WWII were immediate. My Grandfather called me aside once and I was ordered not to play with a certain kid-his father had been a collaborator. I remember my first long trousers for my First Holy communion. For the rest, shorts were worn. Much of the clothing was hand me down for families that had limited funds. Once I transferred to an American School in 1959, I thought I had gone to heaven.

The 1960s

A Dutch Boy in Belgium (The 1960s)

I consider myself throughly Dutch, although I have spent part of my life in Belgium. Our family lived for several years in the Belgian Congo and much of my boyhood was spent there. Just months after leaving the Congo, I was enrolled in a secondary school in Antwerp, Belgium. In the Congo, of course, I and my friends wore short pants all the time in the hot tropical climate. Our Antwerp school had a uniform, but it was no longer strictly enforced. I was the youngest of my class and one of seven or eight boys who were still wearing short pants. I continued wearing short pants to school until I was 16 years old. I generally wore lederhosen as I participated in an Austraian and German Scout camps. Some Dutch boys at the time considered lederhosen too German. My parents were very interested that I learn English, which is part of the reason that they sent me to Scotland for several summers. Some friends there wore kilts, I stuck to my Lederhosen.

American Boy in Europe (The 1960s)

The strongest memories that I have about the clothes I wore as a boy was the short pants I wore as a little boy. After an embarassing experience as a younger boy in Colorado, I was a little shy about wearing short pants. While I still wore shorts for play and casual wear, I never thought as a 12 year-old ready to begin 7th grade that I would ever dress up in short pants and knee socks. That was, however. before my dad got a job in Paris and I found myself in Europe. After the school year finished in June 1964, we left Hawaii and took off for Europe. We spent the entire summer of 1964 touring Scandinavia, the Low Countries, and the British Isles before settling down in Paris. Every where we went, I saw European boys in short pants--often strikingly short and sometimes with knee socks, neckties and jackets.

English Boy in the Netherlands (The 1960s)

An English boy and his brothers spent some time in Germany. His father was stationed there with the British military. Most of his time was spent in Germany. While in Germany they took trips to the Netherlands to camp and see the sights. He remembers a bot about how the German and Dutch boys dressed.

A Dutch Boy (The 1960s-70s)

Dutch Boys' Clothes: Personal Experiences, 1960s-70s. As a small child before kindergarten I always wore shorts and rompers. I wore rompers until I went to kindergarten when I was 4 years old. They were mostly of solid color, but I do remember one of gingham. At that age, of course, it was your mother who decided what you wore and you didn't think anything about it. In kindergarten in the late 1960s I always wore shorts in summer and long pants in winter.

A Dutch Boy (The 1960s-70s)

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 simular clothes although they were much younger.

Thomas: A Dutch-German Boy (The 1969s-70s)

I am Dutch born 1961. I have lived all my life in the Netherlands, but partially from German origin, as my father was born in the German Rhineland. The family of my mother is completely Dutch. This means that I have a lot of German relations. When I was young we often visited my German family or the German friends of my parents on daytrips/weekends. My father stayed for 2 years studying at the University of Mayence and during longer summer holidays (1959-61). My German grand-nephews and the sons of those German friends (all circa of my age, from some 5 years older till some 5 years younger) in the 1960s and early-1970s commonly wore short Lederhosen in this wamer season of the year. I noted those very special garments already as a very small boy, i think even when I was still a todler. They were very different from the shorts I wore myself during the summer.

The 1970s

Jongetje Lanen (1970)

This is a studio portrait of a Dutch boy named Jongetje Lanen. We know nothing about Jongetje and his family, but the suit suggests to us a conservative famnily living in comfortable circumstances. We do not know where he lived in the Netherlands. The portrait was taken in 1970. He was 9 years old. He is wearing a classic single breasted navy blue short pants suit. A navy blue suit was a standard in America at this time, grey was more popular in England. We are less so how common it was in the Netherlands. The lapels were quite small as was stylish in the the 1960s. Large lapels became popular in the 70s. The jacket may not reflect the latest style, but the short pants are the shorter cut shorts that became popular in the 1979s. Jongetje also wears a white shirt and bow tie (which looks to us is pre-tied). We can't see his socks, but I would guess that they are white or dark blue knee socks. We see sjort pants suits and knee socks quite a bit in Europe , although they were becoming less common by the 1970s. The pose is a little stilted.

The 1980s

Unidentified brothers: Zoo visit (1984)

Here we see two unidentified Dutch broithers about 10-12 years old. They are enjoyingva zoo visit on a warm spring dat. We were not sure at first where the boys were from. At first we thought they were Anerican, but then leaned toward Germans. A Dutch reader recognized the location as the Rotterdam Zoo. So the boys are more than likeky from Rottersam. The younger boy wears a colorful 'T'shirt, jean shorts, and sporty Argyle knee socks. His older brother wears a collred white dress shirt with jeans.


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Created: September 4, 1999
Last updated: 4:55 PM 12/27/2020