In 1898, an exhibition of ‘National costumes of Her Majesty’s subjects’ was organized in Amsterdam in Queen Wilhelmina’s honor on the occasion of her inauguiration. Regional costumes from throughout the country were brought together for that purpose. When the temporary exhibition had come to an end, it was deemed a pity to return all the costumes to their owners. After all, they offered a unique overview of traditional costumes that were already starting to disappear from everyday life: more and more people were starting to wear indistinctive, fashionable clothing.
This gave rise to the initiative to try and keep together as many of the exhibition’s articles of clothing as possible. The plan succeeded
to a large extent and the costumes were on view in the Amsterdam National Museum until 1916. They then were transferred to the recently established Netherlands Open Air Museum, where they became the basis of the present Collection of Regional Costumes.
Unfortunately, the collection seemed to have got lost during World War II, together with many other objects of the Open Air Museum. ‘Seemed’, because a couple of years ago it turned out that a substantial number of garments from the original 1898 collection had been spared. Together with the photographs taken in 1898, they provide valuable information about Dutch regional costumes at the end of the 19th century.