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The King's Jubilee 1874

Kerchief celebrating the 25th anniversary of the reign of the Dutch King, Willem III, in 1874.

Kerchief celebrating the 25th anniversary of the reign of the Dutch King, Willem III, in 1874.

On Monday 27th April, Holland celebrates the King's Birthday. An old tradition, a national holiday that brings millions onto the streets for all sorts of community activities. To many, it is also some sort of start of the summer season, even if the sky is grey and it is raining (not an uncommon feature over here). But somehow, people always think the sun is shining on that day. The current king, Willem-Alexander, ascended the throne in 2013, and his birthday is on the 27th April. His mother, the former queen, celebrates her birthday on the 30th. Luckily therefore, the Dutch did not have to change their attitudes to the start of summer. Anyhow, a few days ago the TRC received a donation for its collection from the municipality of Velsen, Noord-Holland, in the form of a very large kerchief in cotton dated 1874, in bright orange (the colour of the reigning dynasty, the House of Orange, and consequently that of the Dutch national football team) celebrating the 25th anniversary of King Willem III's reign. He was the great-great-grandfather of the current Dutch king and would reign until his death in 1890. He was succeeded by his ten-year old daughter Wilhelmina (with her mother Emma as regent).

The printed text under the depiction of the king is that of the national anthem of the Netherlands until 1933, when it was replaced by the Wilhelmus. The text of the former anthem is based on a poem by Hendrik Tollens (1780-1856), with music composed by Johann Wilhelm Wilms (1772-1847) nowadays sounds somewhat anachronistic and certainly very chauvinistic: Wien Neêrlandsch bloed door d'aderen vloeit, Van vreemde smetten vrij ... [Whose Dutch blood flows through his arteries, free from foreign blemishes......]. Not a text for the faint-hearted politically correct among us !




Yemeni dagger sheath and gold embroidered belt. TRC Collection

Yemeni dagger sheath and gold embroidered belt. TRC Collection

Textiles, garments and jewellery from Yemen, from 10 August until 17 December 2015

The image of the Queen of Sheba, dressed in exotic textiles, clothing and jewellery and dancing in front of King Solomon, has fired the imagination of artists for hundreds of years. The Biblical land of Sheba, now known as the Republic of Yemen in the extreme southwest of the Arabian Peninsula, has long been described as the source of abundant trade goods, including emeralds and rubies, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and incense (Book of Ezekiel 27:16). Dutch traders in the 17th and 18th centuries went to Yemen to acquire silk (stickzijde) and metal threads (goudtraet), silk textiles and much more that came from as far away as Syria, Egypt, Iran, India, China and Indonesia, to bring them back to The Netherlands for its wealthy citizens. In the 20th century Yemen was still attracting trade from all over the world. Sadly, in recent days Yemen has become the scene of a bloody civil war and interference from outside.



Wednesday Morning Workshop: 29 April. Straits Chinese Beadwork

The Straits Chinese are an ethnic group whose ancestors were immigrants in the former Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang. The beadwork of this unique Chinese community is a reflection of their syncretic cultural identity. This workshop shall give an overview of the beadwork made in the first half of the 20th century, addressing both the functional and technical aspects, viz. "what was made", and "how they were made." Use will be made of a collection of Straits Chinese beadwork owned by the lecturer, who was also taught how to work beadwork by his own grandmother, so the workshop includes a practical session on counted-thread beadwork embroidery from the former Straits. No previous experience with beadwork is required.

The workshop will be given by Christopher Ng, whose family originates from the Straits and who is now a volunteer at the TRC.

Date: 29 April. Time: 10.00 - 13.00 hrs. Venue: TRC, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Costs: 25 euros. Maximum number of participants: 15. Registration: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Language: Dutch (and English when and if necessary).


Five-Day TRC Intensive Textile Courses, 18-22 May and 12-16 October 2015

TRC Intensive Textile Course March 2015

TRC Intensive Textile Course March 2015

Between 18 and 22 May, 2015, the TRC organises again its acclaimed five-day intensive course on textiles and textile production. The course, which is being given in English, looks at the processes of making a piece of cloth, from the raw fibres to the end product. The participants learn about the theory and practice of fibre identification, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and decorative techniques including printing and embroidery. The course is practically orientated and the students are encouraged to try out the wide range of techniques that are being discussed. This means that they will use microscopes and staining techniques for fibre identification. They are introduced, and asked to use, a wide variety of hand spindles and spinning wheels. They also apply natural dye stuffs and mordants to produce dozens of different colours. Students may bring pieces of textiles that they would like to discuss during the course. An extensive report on the course was written by Dr. Paula Hohti (University of Copenhagen), who attended the course in May 2013. Another report is by Alice Dolan, University of Hertfortshire, who attended the course in May 2012 together with Professor John Styles. For more information about the Intensive Course, with the course programme, click here. Please register well in advance ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

The course is given by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (PhD Manchester, UK), director TRC. It will be repeated between 12-16 October . The fees for a full week of tuition are 550 euros. The group of students is always limited to eight people, in order to ensure the greatest benefits to the participants.


Tutankhamun's Wardrobe and the TRC

The textiles and garments from the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun, who died ca. 1323 BC, have to date received scant attention, although they constitute the largest group of items from the tomb, and they certainly will provide a wealth of information about the state-of-the-craft of Egyptian and Middle Eastern textile production in the second half of the second millennium BC. The TRC is therefore very honoured, and thrilled, that the Egyptian museum authorities have recently granted Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC, and her team access to the conservation laboratories and other facilities of the new Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt, in order to carry out, always under the supervision of GEM restoration specialists, a full examination of the Tutankhamun textiles, clothing and related items housed at GEM.

Read more: Tutankhamun's Wardrobe and the TRC



The TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. Read brief and up-to-date items about the TRC and other textile and dress related subjects. And all with beautiful photographs! Subscribe with 'like', and automatically receive all the new information. Click on the logo !



Appliqué panels from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo.

TRC Gallery exhibition, until 2 July 2015

Man working on an appliqué panel, Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, December 2014.

Man working on an appliqué panel, Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, December 2014.

One of the joys of walking around the bazaars of ancient Cairo is a visit to the Street of the Tentmakers. It is a 17th century complex of buildings, with a long street with shops filled with appliqué panels of the most amazing range of colours and designs.

The appliqués from the Street are part of a tradition that goes back to at least the time of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun (died 1323 BC). The new TRC exhibition includes historical and technical information as well as a very wide range of panels with traditional geometric designs, intricate Arabic calligraphy, ancient Egyptian tomb scenes, modern lotus designs, as well as birds, fishes, landscapes and folk stories. In fact, all aspects of traditional Egyptian life.

The exhibition at the TRC has been made possible with the help of the appliqué makers from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, and the director and staff of the Netherlands-Flemish Institute, Cairo, Egypt.

The exhibition will be open to the general public, and free of charge, during the normal opening hours of the TRC (Monday-Thursday, 10.00 - 16.00). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, there are guided tours of the exhibition, starting two o'clock in the afternoon and lasting about one hour. Costs: 7.50 euro. Registration beforehand is not necessary.

For a brief film about the opening of the exhibition on 4th January, and about the exhibition itself. please click here. The film was made by Andrew Thompson, Restorient, Leiden, The Netherlands.


TRC Needles

The new digital TRC encyclopaedia of decorative needlework, although still 'work in progress', has now been put on line with more than 1000 entries. Enjoy ! Please click here



TRC Library

Over the last few months considerable time, energy and attention have been paid to the TRC library by one of our volunteers, Martine de Nijs. We are very happy to announce that the library has been totally re-numbered and is now open to the public.

There are currently about 2000 books in the library and many more new (to us) books are coming in. Within the last few weeks we have had a donation of books by Mr Bernard Kleikamp, Leiden, on textiles, clothing and jewellery from Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Poland, Tajikistan, etc. These are areas of the library we have long wanted to build up, so these volumes will help fill this lacuna in the TRC's facilities.

A list of the books in the library will soon become available on the TRC website. Please note that the books may be used at the TRC, but they cannot be borrowed.

The next stage is to catalogue the TRC's collections of articles, postcards, and so forth, in order to make the TRC into a well-rounded documentation centre for the study of textiles and clothing!



The Textile Research Centre wants to stimulate people to discover the World of Dress at home. The TRC therefore is gradually expanding its shop and its range of products. You can buy new and secondhand books on textiles and dress, including Dutch regional dress, but also on the history of fashion, and 'how-to-do' subjects. The shop has craft items from all over the world, in particular handmade jewellery. There are woven Syrian sheep bands, knitted objects from Peru, embroidered Turkish lavender bags with oya decoration, gaudily decorated caps from Afghanistan, and many other beautiful and interesting objects. We also sell a wide range of picture postcards of textiles and costume.

The shop also sells collection care items, including acid free paper and boxes for storing your delicate textiles and articles of dress, rolls for more compact storage of long textile items, heads and wigs for display purposes, etc. The TRC sells a range of tools, materials and threads for spinning, crochet, embroidery, hairpin lace production, and silk cocoons for making silk paper.

A new line in this assortment is a wide range of beads for making or restoring Dutch regional dress items, including imitation garnets, blood coral and jet, plus all sorts of metal and glass seed beads for embroidery. You can find all these items in the TRC shop for very reasonable prices. You are very welcome to visit the TRC shop at our premises along the Hogewoerd, but you can also visit the shop at home, via our website. It is very easy to order books or other objects digitally.  Click at "Shop". We hope you will enjoy it.

To see the range of articles that are for sale in the TRC shop, and/or place your order digitally, go the the SHOP heading at the top of this page.


TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

Exhibition until 2 July 2015: Textile Visions from Egypt.nnnnnnWorkshop on preparing fibres before the spinning process. WWnnn


TRC Information





  • Textile visions from Egypt, January-August 2015. Click here
  • Weaving the World. Exhibition May - September 2014. Click here.
  • What is embroidery? Exhibition October 2013 - January 2014. Click here
  • Cover Your Head exhibition, September 2012, click here
  • Beyond the Chador exhibition, February 2013,  click here 

Financial gifts

The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here.