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What is a Dutch Cap?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2016
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A Dutch cap is a headpiece usually associated with traditional female Dutch clothing. The cap fits around the woman’s head, with triangular folds at each side. It can be made of white cotton, lace, or muslin. This particular design originates from Volendam, a province in the Netherlands.

Called the hul, this fabric headpiece completes female Volendam attire. The Dutch cap covers the woman’s ears and stands tall from her crown. Its brims are usually rolled up in an exaggerated width, depicted like wings above the head. It is close fitting, yet so broad in appearance that it becomes the most prominent accessory in female Volendam clothing.

These wide-winged white caps can be seen worn by women during special occasions, holidays, or on Sundays. The women then change into a simpler fabric cap during ordinary days of the week. Although these caps are used to indicate celebration of special events, they are also worn to identify the wearer’s social class. The Dutch cap is not only used as an ornament, but also as an implication of its wearer.

The Dutch have a wide assortment of fashions, and they differ accordingly based on province. Hats also vary from region to region. For females, some caps have long coverings that drape down to their shoulders and others have larger, peaked tops. Still others have laces to tie around the chin.

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The Volendam cap is generally recognized as a Dutch cap, but there are many other styles of headpieces that are part of Dutch culture. In northern Limburg, caps have ribbons and tassels, which are meant to distinguish the social status of the wearer. In Zeeland, the headpieces are flamboyant and large. There are also provinces with simpler cap designs, like the ones in Marken. It is rare to see these caps in use except during festivities and celebrations.

There are distinguishing similarities between Volendam-based Dutch caps and the white caps worn by nurses. A common nurse’s hat is made up of a white fabric with two folded flaps. It is speculated that the nursing cap style is based on the traditional Dutch cap from Volendam.

In fact, St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing based its nurses' hats on Dutch caps. The hospital's promoted nurse is allowed to wear an organdy cap with typical side pleats. The cap is sloped in a descending direction from front to back to achieve the same general appearance of the Dutch caps.

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GardenTurtle
Post 2

@dinoleash- I agree with you. The Amish lifestyle is to be commended and respected. We visit an Amish community in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee and have our horses shod there. We send them a letter about a week before we are coming (they do not have phones) and let them know the day we will be there.

When we show up, the husband takes the horses out to the barn and the children are all running around outside playing. The mother always comes out (in her Dutch cap) and gives me a loaf of freshly baked bread.

The women all have the same Dutch cap on and they are all so peaceful. It is a touching experience.

DinoLeash
Post 1

About twice a year, we go to Amish country and spend a day or two there. This particular Amish community live the Dutch life. They speak Dutch and their children are taught Dutch before they are taught English. There is no electricity but it is still the most amazing place I have ever been!

The women wear the traditional Dutch caps and dresses. I've never seen any of the women without their hat on. They even put the hats on the female babies. We became close to one of the families there and were allowed in their home. It is such simplicity. This family has 2 boys and 6 girls and all of the girls had their hats and dresses on. The boys all wear brim hats with a band around them.

If ever the opportunity arises for anyone to visit an Amish community, I highly recommend it. It is a surreal experience.

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