Traditional Zeeland costumes
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Traditionally, every island in Zeeland would have had its own way of dressing.
Because the people were separated by water, each island developed its own typical costume. In the course of ages, dams and reclamation projects connected the islands. However the differences between the costumes didn’t disappear. Nowadays the costumes are mostly out of fashion. Only a few elderly people still wear them today.
The colorful costume of this southern province features a black skirt and blouse with a bright striped floral, high-waisted apron and a small bright colored print dickey with a white collar. The fitted eyelet hat hugs the head and is adorned by “kissers,” a gold spring-like object worn at the side of the head. Traditionally, ornaments were attached to the kissers to indicate the wealth of the family and have nothing to do with attracting boys or stopping them from kissing the girls. Kissers were, simply put, pieces of jewelry.
Worn with a blue-and-white checked or striped apron, the dress includes a floral dickey. Lace from the close-fitting hat flows loosely over the shoulders. Spiral kissers are worn with the hat, a feature with all the costumes from the province of Zeeland. These costumes used to be worn every Thursday on market day.
Distinctive with its large, stiffly starched hat, this costume includes large gold square kissers worn at the temples. The “kissers” this time are large gold squares worn at the temples. The detail of the hat in olden days signified whether the person was of the Protestant or Catholic faith. The costume can either be black with a black apron and paisley print dickey and scarf, or a brighter costume with blue skirt and bodice, striped apron, checked dickey and orange plaid scarf. (Note about the “kissers” – stories about these ornaments attracting the boys to the girls – or keeping the away, which never works, of course – hence the name “kissers.” In reality, the Dutch wore these as jewelry, and if a family was of some means, they often wore bangles hanging down from the spirals.)