Atelier Stadelmaier

Embroidered signature of the Stadelmaier firm, c. 1965. Embroidered signature of the Stadelmaier firm, c. 1965.

The Atelier Stadelmaier, Nijmegen (the Netherlands), was set up in 1930 and eventually became one of the world's largest producers of liturgical clothing. It closed down in 2010. The company was set up by Arthur Stadelmaier (born in Germany; 1901-1981) and his wife, Magdalena Stadelmaier-Glässner (Poland; 1906-1989), who came to Nijmegen in the 1920's.

Arthur and Magdalena Stadelmaier worked at first in collaboration with the larger firm of Metzner. In 1934 they became independent and continued under the name of Atelier voor Kerkelijke Gewaadkunst A.W. Stadelmaier. This ‘new’ company specialised in the production and making of church textiles, as well as the selling of 'paramenten' and related materials, such as cloth and threads. In 1977 the firm changed its name to Stadelmaier Nijmegen B.V.

Magdalena Glässner was a professional embroiderer, who had been convent trained as an embroideress in Poland. She took upon herself the embroidery atelier of the Atelier. One of the designers associated with the atelier was Wim van Woerkom (1905-1998), who worked at the firm from 1936 to the 1960's. He was responsible for various new (1950’s) designs, especially of the crucified Christ, worked on chasubles and copes. These designs were then embroidered by Glässner and her team. Since 1994 the actual embroidery was carried out in Romania, rather than in the Netherlands.

Following the Second World War the company concentrated on liturgical vestments, wall decorations and flags for church use. In 1954 Arthur Stadelmaier’s son, Bernard Stadelmaier (1934; also known as Ben Stadelmaier) became the director of the company. He was described at one point as the “fashion king of the spiritual”. His period as director saw the beginning of great changes within the Catholic Church with an emphasis on modernisation. These changes can be seen in the Stadelmaier garments. There was even a new style of liturgical outfit designed by the company, known as the Nijmegen model (Nijmeegs model), which had a bright colour and was worn with an embroidered stole on the outside of the chasuble or cope. This garment became known as the 'outside stole' (buitenstola) and is now widely used throughout the Catholic Church, especially after Pope John Paul II issued a decree of nihil obstat ('no objections') in 1985, which was the same year as his visit to the Netherlands.

At its peak the family-run company had outlets in Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the USA. The atelier was regarded as a renewing force in the appearance and decoration of liturgical garments and religious furnishings, such as altar covers and so forth. Ben Stadelmaier (1934) was followed by his son Aart Stadelmaier in the mid-1960’s. Aart Stadelmaier and his team designed thousands of garments and outfits for liturgical purposes throughout the world. During Pope Paul VI's (1963-1978) visit to St. Louis (USA) in 1999 there were fifteen hundred garments required so that the pontiff and his clergy could wear a different (but matching) outfit for each event. Similarly, when the same pope visited Los Angeles (USA) in 2002, 800 different outfits were used.

Due to changing attitudes towards the Catholic Church, especially in the USA, and the economic disasters of 2008 onwards, fewer and fewer orders for garments were placed at Stadelmaier’s. They were officially declared bankrupt in 2010 and shortly afterwards, in 2012, Ben Stadelmaier gave a major part of the firm's collection to the Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht (the Netherlands). Many items were on display in the Atelier Stadelmaier exhibition: Hemelse Mode rond het Altaar, at Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, in 2015.


  • LEEFLANG, Micha (2015). 'Atelier Stadelmaier: Hemelse mode rond het altaar', Catharijne: Magazine van Museum Catharijneconvent Utrecht, no. 1, pp. 20-21.
  • Textboards at the Atelier Stadelmaier exhibition, Museum Catharijneconvent Utrecht, 2015.

Digital source (retrieved 17 July 2015).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 14 June 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 29 April 2017 11:16

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