February 14, 2014

1003 NETHERLANDS - Tulip fields & cheese girl

As wrote Wilma, this is, obviously, a touristic postcard, following three clichés about Netherlands: the tulips, the cheese and the Dutch bonnet. But it fully attains its purpose, because the image is catchy, and the bright colors and the pleasant smile, added for diversity, on the house, successfully contribute to the overall impression. From the first glance, you say, dreamy or enthusiastic, "I want to see this country." Am I wrong?

I'm far from a specialist in ethnography, but I think that what bears the smiling girl isn't a traditional costume, but only suggests one, using specific elements, primarily striped fabrics and Dutch bonnet. Anyway, I wrote here about these clothes, so I'll move on. The Dutch are famous for their cheeses, majority semi-hard or hard, made mainly in the West of the country. Probably the best known are Gouda (rather a style of cheese making than a kind of cheese), Leyden (spiced cheese with cumin), Edam (traditionally in small spheres) as well as Leerdammer and Beemster. I will not go into details, because I care about our silhouettes.

Cultivation of the tulips began in Persia, probably in the 10th century, and is assumed that these flowers reached in Europe, through Ottoman Empire, in 16th century, although they didn't lack from the gardens of Moorish Andalus. 1594 is considered the date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in Antwerp and Amsterdam three decades earlier. Between 1634 and 1637, the enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania, at the peak of which some single tulip bulbs were sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. As is known, the tulips are associated with the Netherlands, and the cultivated forms of the tulip are often called "Dutch tulips." The Netherlands have also the world's largest permanent display of tulips at the Keukenhof.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series dedicated to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, issued on April 1, 2011 and comprising three stamps
• for inland post (green)
• for post within Europe (blue) - it's on the postcard
• for post outside Europe (orange)

Dutch cuisine - Wikipedia
Tulip - Wikipedia

sender: Wilma van Vegten (direct swap)
sent from Leiden (South Holland / Netherlands), on 10.11.2013

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