August 17, 2013

0795 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / Friesland) - Woman in traditional costume

Friesland (Frisia) is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea (from the northwestern Netherlands across northwestern Germany to the border of Denmark), i.e. the German Bight, the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language, and very distinct from Dutch, German, and Danish. The Frisians are divided into three groups, the West Frisians, the East Frisians and the North Frisians. There are currently about 500,000 speakers of Frisian, the vast majority speaking West Frisian, recognized as a language in the Netherlands.

The traditional costume of this area is based on the Burgher's costumes of a couple of centuries ago. The basic parts of the woman's costume is a full skirt, the rok, and a blouse/jacket, the jak, with a skirt gathered into the waist which reaches to between hip and mid thigh. There is a chemise, the sleeves of which sometimes show, a petticoat, or more than one, and most likely  bloomers underneath, essential to keeping the line of the skirt. Most of the time, the jak and the rok are made of the same material, but not always.

The most specific is the headress, a cap of white eyelet linen and over that, sometimes, a black cap. Over the caps is worn the Oorijzer, the 'ear iron'. The Oorijzer isn't unique to this area, it is very common in many parts of the Netherlands, but in Frisland it is unusually large, becoming widened almost to helmet proportions. It is usually made of gold, but sometimes of silver. It is made to fit an individual woman, and always has a v shaped opening in front. The cap is always made of lace, and has a frill in back over the nape of the neck. In the 1800's, the frill hung down to the shoulders, but more recently, it has gotten shorter.

About the stamp

The stamp is one of the two issued by Netherlands for Europa Stamps 2013 on April 22, 2013, with the theme The postman van.

Friesland - Wikipedia
Costume of Fryslân or Friesland, land of the West Frisians, the Netherlands - Folk Costume & Embroidery

sender: Wilma van Vegten (direct swap)
sent from Leiden (South Holland / Netherlands), on 01.08.2013
photo: Hellen Vink

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