The Niestadt photo collection of the Zijpe Museum > The Easter cattle exhibition in Schagen

Since 1894, the Easter cattle exhibit is held on the Wednesday ten days before Easter. After their fasting period, the population of North-Holland wanted the very best kind of meat on their tables. Butchers would therefore set out to find prime beef far in advance. Special markets were organised with exhibits and an element of competition. Butchers would buy winning animals, which were shown proudly to the customers in villages and towns until 1940.

From the 1960s, when caesarian section techniques were greatly improved, so-called double-muscled beef came into being: cows with a great amount of tender meat. This beef became controversial for a period of time in the 1980s due to the use of growth-stimulators. There have been a number of butchers in and around Schagen since the 1960s whose hobby has been the fattening up of cattle.
Besides cows, horses, sheep and fat pigs were also exhibited and judged. Since the war, presentations of the latest farming tools have also been increasingly common.

In 1993, Easter cattle exhibits were still being held in ten towns in the Netherlands. Schagen was by then the only outdoors one. Cattle diseases and stricter government measures have made these exhibits increasingly rare.

source: Volkert J. Nobel, One hundred years of Easter Cattle in Schagen, Schoorl 1993

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