Polder Girl or Girls in the Polder?

(Last Updated On December 30, 2018)

Photographer unknown – Girl on skates in the Duivenvoordse-Veenzijdse Polder (1960-70)

Here are some more images of this polder and girl in blue jacket. It is probably all three times the same girl named Erna Verhoeve.

Photographer unknown – Dogs are welcome in the Polder of Kruibeke (around 2018)

Here is a somewhat funny explanation that dogs are thus welcome in this polder, but not everyone feels comfortable with dogs, and also polder animals (like cows, sheep, horses) can be frightened by “our four-legged friends” although dogs do “nothing” so keep dogs on a leash, and do not forget to clean up their poop.

A polder is the kind of typical Dutch landscape, drained, won from the sea, or nearby rivers, by dikes and pumps. Recently I came upon two stories about two girls. The one about Sofie happened in a polder without particular reference to that term. What happened to Sofie could have happened anywhere, where traffic bars can go high. The story about Floortje actually plays with the word ‘polder’: Maseratis in the Polder. First I wrote two posts by themselves, about Sofie and about Floortje. Later on I wanted to illustrate the word ‘polder’ (with girls) and wrote this post or is it ‘Girls in the Polder’? Is there such a thing as a ‘Polder Girl’?

I found a Fashion Brand named Polder, with a line for women, and one for girls, named Polder Girl. And I got the idea to add some rather traditional Dutch images of girls connected to polders. The Dutch word has no other translation into English than ‘polder’. I would say, it is a landscape. But in Holland, in the Netherlands, one can also call it a so-called ‘Heimat’ or terrain like forests in Germany, mountains in Austria, moors in England and prairies in the United States. As a noun ‘polder’ can also be seen as a metaphor for the Netherlands.

To polder is also a verb, namely, creating these landscapes. And figuratively speaking, it has become a way of doing and governing: doing it together, governing in a democratic and rather egalitarian way and making decisions or compromises by deliberation—The ‘Polder Model’. Maybe it was inevitable that girls should join this model.

Polder Girl. About this fashion brand I cite as I could not say it better myself:

Polder was created by two sisters, Madelon (Lanteri-Laura) and Natalie (Vodegel), who were born and raised in the Netherlands. They spent their childhood living in an area where they overlooked polders that stretched out as far as the eye could see. In January 2008, in Paris, they presented “April showers by polder”, which is now known as Polder Girl. This label shows a mix of a Nordic spirit, with a French touch of vintage. The handmade components, bring a unique and hand-crafted quality to the collection. Shapes are extremely pure, and the prints, materials and finish make them a strong and acknowledgeable product.

Polder Girl was first named ‘April Showers’, changed in 2017 (or 2016). The two sisters’ own site is here. But there I could not find anything about Polder Girl. Using Google images I found only this, presumably a part of their site, but seemingly not reachable through their homepage.

The clothing line is described as:

sophisticated and modern. Strong minimalist design. Very contemporary and with a bohemian spirit.

And as

the typical effortless style that we love so much of French fashion.

And here with a

cool, laid-back Parisian chíc

with

a little Dutch touch.

Has the polder in the mean time been left behind? What is there in a name? I would say, “what does it matter?” I would not say that something is typically ‘polder’ or that this is ‘polder lookalike’. It is as if these girl models come directly from some polder in Holland. But then, these girls could be seen in the polder, as well as in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Paris, Lille, Cannes and the Belgian mass-tourist coach. The clothes are not too expensive and to my eyes ‘western’ in general. One cannot expect that the two couturiers would really create some ‘polder look’. What would that be? And it would probably hamper their creativity and what is fashionable at the moment. So, this kind of ‘Polder Girl’ does not really exist. Let’s just have a look at their work and models. These pictures are most probably taken in a studio, with a soft light, which gives it a kind of soft, ‘natural’ touch, which may have helped create the kinds of impressions mentioned above.

Photographer unknown – April Showers (Summer 2014)

Photographer Unknown – April Showers (Summer 2014)

Photographer unkown – Dress Dune Sand (around 2017)

Photographer unknown – Dress Dune Sand 2 (around 2017)

Photographer unknown – Caroline Mustard Poldergirl Dress (around 2017)

Photographer unknown – Polder Girl Dress Caroline Mustard (around 2017)

Is anywhere the Polder Girl, really in the polder, to be found in tradition, in costume, as if from a movie? In Polder Costume? There was and there still is in Holland. More or less like the USA has its Amish and Germany their Dirndls, with that difference that these ‘traditional’ way of dressing can still be seen now and then in Germany or Holland, perhaps mainly within still-existing (or in recollections of)  ‘traditional communities’ such as the Amish in the States. I would not be surprised if in the US, at certain celebrations, people dress themselves as in the time when ‘the West was won’. Dressing in costume at special occasions is a popular western pattern. These are topics for another post.

Has Dutch (polder) costume been given a new, better life? For instance, here at the Keukenhof, a yearly Dutch grand garden in the spring, or as a set of dresser drawers at the Zuiderzee Museum.

Photographer unknown – Dutch Province of Zeeland Isle of Walcheren (year unknown)

Photographer unknown – Young generation in costume during Tulip Weekend in the Keukenhof (2009)

Photographer unknown – Dressing up Cabinet (year unknown)

Photographer unknown – Mill Sight Volendam (year unknown)

One thought on “Polder Girl or Girls in the Polder?

  1. Maybe this is not very important, but I might as well suggest that a better translation of the caption on the last picture would be “View of a Mill”.

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