Playing cards have been known in the Low Countries since the 14th century, mostly imported from France or Belgium, but until the 17th century there were few Dutch card makers. An edict from Lyons in 1583 caused many French playing card makers to emigrate so some of them may have arrived in Holland more →
There is also the period of the Spanish Netherlands under King Philip II of Spain when the histories of Spain and the Netherlands were connected more →
During the 17th century, Holland’s so-called Golden Age, Amsterdam witnessed a great blossoming in the manufacture of playing cards and thanks to their steadily increasing production, they were able to capture a significant portion of the European market. In 1662 card makers joined a new guild, together with booksellers, printers and binders. This meant that their interests could be better protected against plagiarism and unfair competition.
Early manufacturers based in Amsterdam at that time include Jean Fouquet, P. Mortier, who also imitated French educational, geographical or satirical packs, J. Gole, Gerard Valk, Carel de Wagenaer and A. de Winter. A number of French card-makers had emigrated to Holland because of the duties imposed at home.
A two-volume “Traité du Jeu” concerning the morality of gaming was published in Amsterdam in 1709 and editions of “Maison des Jeux” (1702) and “Académie des Jeux” (1728) were also published. In the 18th century non-standard pictorial cards were exported to England.
Among later cards made in Holland, the majority have French suit signs. Sometimes the courts resemble French ones, sometimes German ones, and very often these packs have pictorial aces.
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
Promotional pack for a Dutch Celtic folk band which performs Irish, Scottish and Dutch folk music, c.2004.
Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.
“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.
In standard English packs the Ace of Spades is associated with decorative designs. This is a historical survey of why this should be.
Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium.
PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History
This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating.
Video by Art of Impossible. In this video you will get a short overview of the most important historical facts about playing cards and their history.
Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.
Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.
Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584.
Zwarte Piet by Dondorf for the Dutch market, 1906.
Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern
A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.
Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, 1938.
“H-O Kwartetspel” children’s card game promoting quick cooking oatmeal (instant porridge), 1930s.
Asperge Kwartet published by Knorr.
Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.
Nature Quartet game published by Staatsbosbeheer, printed by Roem Speelkaarten, Kampen.
Fairy Tales quartet published by Heinrich Schwarz + Co for Dutch market, c.1970.
Nationale-Nederlanden insurance company, 1984.
Neerlands Glorie Kwartetspel published by Hausemann & Hötte N.V, Amsterdam, 1945.
Verkeers Kwartet by Nederlandse Spellenfabriek BV, Amsterdam, 1965.
Reproduction of Richard Blome’s Heraldic playing cards, 1684, presented to lady guests at WCMPC Summer Meeting in 1888.
Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.
Corner Indices were a major innovation in playing card production.
Baraja Carlos IV, Félix Solesio en la Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya, 1800.
A presentation of the main characteristics of the wood-block courts of the heart suit.
This is a presentation in a more straightforward fashion of the work done by Paul Bostock and me in our book of the same name.
Boekenkwartet featuring illustrations from children's books, 1970s.
Some further material relating to cards from nineteenth and twentieth century periodicals.
Facsimile of patriotic 1878 Tyrolean playing cards published by Piatnik in 1992.
Here are a few early advertisements relating to cards from newspapers 1684-1759 and a number of later 19th century documents of interest.
Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796.
A continuation of the development of the off-spring of the Paris patterns and a few examples of how the French regional figures have inspired modern designers.
A great many regional patterns were exported from France and subsequently copied elsewhere. Some of them became local standards in their own right.
Continuing our look at the figures from the regional patterns of France.
On page 11 I illustrated several examples of the regional French patterns from Sylvia Mann's collection; this is a more in-depth look at the figures of these patterns ("portraits" in French).
Facsimile of Tarot de Marseille by Iohann Christoph Hes, Augsburg, c.1750.