Just like Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring the Dutch kissing boy and girl traveled the world, mainly in the shape of Delft blue souvenirs. Those who know them as the porcelain figurines link them to Delft. But were they originally from Delft? A story of the kissing couple from Holland for Valentine’s Day. Or any other day.
Share a Kiss and Become Famous
The Dutch are down-to-earth people and from what I’ve seen not overly romantic. We love a good Dutch tradition. On Valentine’s Day we gift our loved ones a box of chocolate, red roses and complete it with a kiss. Simple as that. And simple is best. Look at the kissing couple, let’s call them Val & Tine. Two figurines who have become the most romantic icon of the Netherlands. It’s one of the most bought Holland souvenirs. And sharing a tender kiss in traditional Dutch folk costumes was all it took to become famous.
Boy Kisses Girl Goes Diverse
The tradition shows a Dutch kissing boy and girl, farmers, both in authentic folklore costume. Sometimes with tulips in hand and a windmill in the back. Typical Dutch representation. Some years ago, other versions appeared that demonstrated the diversity in the Netherlands. Small Delft blue statues of Dutch boy kissing Dutch girl and Dutch girl kissing Dutch girl. Then came the project To Kiss or Not To Kiss . The kissing couple became a multicultural souvenir, with figurines from Chinese, Surinamese and Arabic origin.
Origin of Kissing Dutch Boy and Girl
There is little information about the origin of the traditional kissing couple. Some say this picture of Jan & Grietje was the inspiration for the figurines. The kissing kids picture was taken in Volendam, North Holland around 1920. Now in every region of the Netherlands the traditional costumes look different. I immediately checked the clothing with that of the Delft blue statues. What a disappointment! Even the clothes of the Dutch kissing boy and girl differ per souvenir.
Delft Blue Farmer’s Couple
In an article by Dutch News Delft city archaeologist Steven Jongma says figurines of the Dutch farmer’s couple dating from mid 18th century have been found. Unlike Grietje & Jan they’re not kissing though. The kissing part was added much later. Delft ceramics was invented in the 16th century as a cheaper version of the Chinese porcelain, Delft painters thought people only liked Chinese flowers, birds and scenes. At one point in time though, there was a painter who dared to create a typical Dutch scene. Mid 17th century the tiles with tulips, crockery with Dutch landscapes and little statues of farmer’s couples with their authentic Holland dresses became more popular. Till present time people from all over the world love and cherish the Delft blue figurines of the Dutch kissing boy and girl.
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