Figure 1.--This image was probably taken in the 1900s and shows the dress of working-class Dutch children. Notice that the children are either barefoot are wearing wooden shoes. Two boys appear to be wearing a basic pinafore-type garment. Also notice the close cropped hair.
HBC has little information about Dutch boys wearing smocks or "boerenkiel". We do not believe that they were as common as in some neighboring Belgium. Some images from the turn of the century do show Dutch boys wearing pinafore-like smocks. It was much more common for girls to wear them. but Dutch boys also wore them. A Dutch source reports that boys did wear smocks, but not as a part of the school clothing like in France/Spain/Italy. The most common smocks, the ones worn by peasants, are called "boerenkiel" (kiel=smock for boeren=peasants). They were widely worn in rural areas until about the mid-1930s. Smocks declined in popularity in the 1940s and especially the 1950s. By the late 1950s they were only being worn by younger boys.
HBC has little information about Dutch boys wearing smocks. We do not believe that they were as common as in some neighboring Belgium.
HBC had little information about smock in the Netherlands during the 18th and 19th century. A Dutch reader has provided an image of a fancy 18th century smock. We know little at this time about the conventiins for wearing smocks in the 18th century. Some images from the turn of the 20th century do show Dutch boys wearing pinafore-like smocks. It was much more common for girls to wear them. but Dutch boys also wore them. Smocks were common in rural areas until about the mid-1930s. Smocks declined in popularity in the 1940s and especially the 1950s. By the late 1950s they were only being worn by younger boys.
Figure 2.--This Dutch boy swears a smock or "boerenkiel". He's a typical Dutch boy with his wooden shoes and smock and (probably red/white) shawl around his neck. It's not a real photograph from the time when boys did regulary wear smocks but a folkloristic recreation from the 1960s them. Also notice the cap.
The smocks worn by Dutch boys in the early 20th century appear to be very simple pinafore-style sleeveless garments with virtually no trim (figure 1). Swiss boys wore similar smocks. Boys also commonly wore a shirt-like garment with sleeves--"boerenkiel". These fell below the waistline, but were much shorter than the smocks commonly worn by French boys (figure 2). I'm not sure what colors these came in. One available image shows Rugby-type front buttons. I do not know if they also came in back buttoning styles. Other styles, but still realtively plain styles appeared in the post World War II period in smocks designed for younger boys (figure 3). The term for these smocks was "jak". The one pictured here appears to have a Rugby-type front opening, perhaps with buttons.
A Dutch source reports that boys did wear smocks, althouh the HBC gas little informaion on the style and chronology. They do not appear to have been commonly worn as a part of the school clothing like in France/Spain/Italy. One Dutch reader as early as the 1950s remembers that he never saw Dutch boys wearing snocks, although he lived in Belgium. The school smock was called a "kiel" in the Netherlands, but "schort" was more common in Dutch-speaking Flanders (Belgium) where school smocks were much more common.
There are several different words for smocks in Dutch. Thus the translation is somewhat complicated. Smocks are called "kiel" in Dutch. The short worn by peasants are called "boerenkiel" (kiel=smock for boeren=peasants). There are also less commonly referred to as "boezeroen". The etimology of the Dutch term shows that smocks were largely associated with peasant clothing and rural areas. It is in the rural areas of the Netherlands that smocks were the most widely worn. The longer longer variant worn by the little boy are called a "jak". "Schort" is another Dutch word that could be used for school smock. There are some regional
Smocks and pinafores appear to have been much more common for girls in the Netherlands than for the boys. Also girls appear to have worn these protective garments to school while boys did so less commonly. This contrasts to neigboring Belgium where both boys and girls did commonly wear smocks to school.
Figure 3.--This 1958 image from a sewing magazine shows a smock outfit for a younger boy. It goes with a romper outfit. Click on the image for information on Dutch rompers.
Durch boys wore their ordinary clothes under their smocks. As many of the smocks worn in the early 20th century were the sleeveless pinafore styles, the clothes the boys are wearing are quite noticeable. Many boys wore them with the long baggy pants that were still common in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. Rural boys in the 1930s might wear plain smovks with kneepants and long stockings. The younger boys who might wear smocks later in the century more commonly wore smocks with short pants or even rompers.
We have found some images of Dutch children wearing smocks. Unfortunately in many cases we do not know much about the images making it difficult to understand the conventions involved. One example is some Amsterdam children in 1933.
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