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Netherlands

Playing cards have been known in the Low Countries since the 14th century

Hidden meanings in painting by Jheronimus Bosch

Above: Hidden meanings in painting by Hieronimus Bosch, where souls are tormented by fear, anxiety, chaos and distress   more

Above: playing cards by the “Master of the Banderoles”   more

Above: detail from “The Card Players”, after Lucas van Leyden, Netherlandish, probably c. 1550-1599   more →

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

detail from “Man and Woman Playing Cards” painting by Dutch artist from the circle of Anthoine Palamedesz (1601-1673)

Above: detail from “Man and Woman Playing Cards” by Dutch artist from the circle of Anthoine Palamedesz (1601-1673). The card game is used as a metaphor for love: the man is handing the ace of hearts to the woman. Image courtesy Grosvenor Art Gallery, Chester.

Above: detail from “The card game on the cradle allegory” attributed to Johannes van Wijckersloot, 1683 more →

Above: de Speelkaartemaker. The woman at front-right is using a very large pair of cutting shears, whilst in the background several other operations, such as colouring, are being performed.

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.

Above: card from Henry Winstanley's Geographical playing cards, 1676, depicting a Dutchman and woman in typical outfits along with the most important geographic, political and economic facts of the day.

Above: Kriegs-Spiel by Peter Schencken, Amsterdam, c.1670

Above: Archaeological find: old playing cards under the floorboards.

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.

cards published by Jonas Fouquet & son, Amsterdam, 18th Century

Above: cards published by Jonas Fouquet & son, Amsterdam, 18th Century.

facsimile edition of cards first published by Carel de Wagenaer, Amsterdam in c.1698

Above: cards first published by Carel de Wagenaer, Amsterdam, c.1698

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.

Card Players by Candlelight, Johan Mengels Culverhouse (c.1820-1891).

Above: Dutch costume playing cards, second half of the 19th century.

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.

Above: late 19th century War deck by Nederlandsche Speelkaarten Fabriek from Amsterdam

B. Dondorf: Fynste Java Speelkaarten No.17

Above: B. Dondorf's “Fynste Java Speelkaarten” for the former Dutch East Indies during the colonial period, 1879

Above: “S. M. N” shipping line playing cards produced by Nederlandse Speelkaarten Fabriek, c.1910   more →

Above: Nederlandsche Oliefabriek Calvé quartet game, c.1920

Above: advertisement for Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, which operated from 1909-1969 until it was taken over by Carta Mundi in 1970.

Above: Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland “Fortuna” deck, 1926

Above: Elegant “Nieuw Neerlandia” pattern designed by M.A. Koekkoek, 1930

Above: Sikar publicity deck by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, Amsterdam, 1935   more →

Above: Havermout Kwartetspel   more

Above: Albert Heijn’s “Boffie” Kwartetspel first published in 1936   more

Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel, 1938

Above: Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel, 1938   more →

Above: Maritime pack designed by J.Verhoeven, c.1938  more

Patience deck for British American Tobacco printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland c.1940

Above: patience deck for British American Tobacco, c.1940   more →

Historic card game published for Noord Braband Insurance Society, 1943

Above: Historic card game published for Noord Braband Insurance Society, 1943   more →

Above: Anonymous Dutch deck, 1940s   more →

Neerlands Glorie Kwartetspel published by Hausemann & Hötte, 1945

Above: Neerlands Glorie Kwartetspel published by Hausemann & Hötte, 1945   more →

Above: Hollywood Stars, c.1957   more →

Above: deck designed by Max Velthuijs for KLM airlines   more →

Above: Verkeers Quartet, c.1965

Above: Sprookjes Kwartet, c.1970

Above: Nederlands Stedenkwartet, c.1970

Above: “De Kloof” Advertising Playing Cards, c.1970

Above: Genoese pattern made in Hungary for Dutch market, 1970s

Above: Boekenkwartet, 1970s

Netherlands Antilles stamps issued on May 26, 1977

Above: Netherlands Antilles stamps issued on May 26, 1977

Above: Story Magazine, 1978   more →

Above: Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet, 1983   more →

Above: Nationale-Nederlanden insurance company, 1984   more →

Above: ‘Stars Play’ card set published by Monty Gum in 1988   more →

“Noord Brabant” deck printed by Carta Mundi in 1992

Above: “Noord Brabant” deck designed by Han Janssen and printed by Carta Mundi in 1992 for the I.P.C.S. convention in Veldhoven, Netherlands. The courts show farmers, women and guild members in local costumes. The jokers show representatives of the carnival tradition in North Brabant.

Beesten Kwartet designed by Peter Vos, 1995

Above: Beesten Kwartet designed by Peter Vos, 1995

Above: Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen playing cards, c.2003

Above: publicity deck by Esveco Specialities for Alto Imaging Group   more

Rhineland pattern for the Netherlands by F X Schmid, c.1990

Above: Rhineland pattern for the Netherlands with Dutch scenic aces by F X Schmid, c.1990

North German pattern printed by KZWP-Trefl for Fortuna Speelkaarten, 2004

Above: North German pattern printed by KZWP-Trefl for Fortuna Speelkaarten, 2004

The so-called ‘Dutch Pattern’ was first produced by Belgian cardmakers in the 19th century and subsequently became associated with the Netherlands.

Above: Dutch Pattern for Van Perlstein, c.1960.

Souvenir for Rijksmuseum Amsterdam by Hearts Playingcards

Above: Souvenir for Rijksmuseum Amsterdam by Hearts Playingcards, c.2012 [www.heartsplayingcards.com]

Dutch pattern playing cards promoting the annual International Four Days of Walking Event held in Holland, made in Germany by Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag GmbH, 2016

Above: Four Days of Walking Event, 2016

Donald Duck Groente & Fruit Pretkwartet

Above: Donald Duck Groente & Fruit Pretkwartet more →

Natuur Kwartet

Above: Natuurkwartet more →

Asperge Kwartet

Above: Asperge Kwartet more →

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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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.


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2004 Rapalje

Rapalje

Promotional pack for a Dutch Celtic folk band which performs Irish, Scottish and Dutch folk music, c.2004.

1880 Dutch costume playing cards from an unknown maker

Dutch costume playing cards from an unknown maker

Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.

1860 Dutch costume playing cards

Dutch costume playing cards

Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.

1705 Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.

72: The Ace of Spades

72: The Ace of Spades

In standard English packs the Ace of Spades is associated with decorative designs. This is a historical survey of why this should be.

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Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium.

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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.

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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.

1983 Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.

1970 Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.

1584 Toledo, 1584

Toledo, 1584

Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584.

1906 Zwarte Piet

Zwarte Piet

Zwarte Piet by Dondorf for the Dutch market, 1906.

1500 Gambling and Vice in the Middle Ages

Gambling and Vice in the Middle Ages

Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern

“Deck with French suits”

“Deck with French suits”

A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.

Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel

Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel

Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, 1938.

Havermout Kwartetspel

Havermout Kwartetspel

“H-O Kwartetspel” children’s card game promoting quick cooking oatmeal (instant porridge), 1930s.

Asperge Kwartet

Asperge Kwartet

Asperge Kwartet published by Knorr.

1975 Stationskwartetspel

Stationskwartetspel

Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.

1980 Natuurkwartet

Natuurkwartet

Nature Quartet game published by Staatsbosbeheer, printed by Roem Speelkaarten, Kampen.

1970 Sprookjes Kwartet

Sprookjes Kwartet

Fairy Tales quartet published by Heinrich Schwarz + Co for Dutch market, c.1970.

Nationale-Nederlanden

Nationale-Nederlanden

Nationale-Nederlanden insurance company, 1984.

1945 Neerlands Glorie

Neerlands Glorie

Neerlands Glorie Kwartetspel published by Hausemann & Hötte N.V, Amsterdam, 1945.

Verkeers Kwartet

Verkeers Kwartet

Verkeers Kwartet by Nederlandse Spellenfabriek BV, Amsterdam, 1965.

1888 Heraldic playing cards

Heraldic playing cards

Reproduction of Richard Blome’s Heraldic playing cards, 1684, presented to lady guests at WCMPC Summer Meeting in 1888.

1698 Le Jeu de la Guerre

Le Jeu de la Guerre

Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.

1864 Corner Indices

Corner Indices

Corner Indices were a major innovation in playing card production.

1800 Baraja Carlos IV by Félix Solesio, 1800

Baraja Carlos IV by Félix Solesio, 1800

Baraja Carlos IV, Félix Solesio en la Real Fábrica de Macharaviaya, 1800.

71: Woodblock and stencil: the hearts

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A presentation of the main characteristics of the wood-block courts of the heart suit.

70: Woodblock and stencil : the spade courts

70: Woodblock and stencil : the spade courts

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

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Boekenkwartet featuring illustrations from children's books, 1970s.

66: Adverts and related material 1862-1900

66: Adverts and related material 1862-1900

Some further material relating to cards from nineteenth and twentieth century periodicals.

1878 Tyrolean Playing Cards

Tyrolean Playing Cards

Facsimile of patriotic 1878 Tyrolean playing cards published by Piatnik in 1992.

65: Adverts and related documents 1684-1877

65: Adverts and related documents 1684-1877

Here are a few early advertisements relating to cards from newspapers 1684-1759 and a number of later 19th century documents of interest.

1796 Prisoners of War

Prisoners of War

Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796.

64: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 2

64: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 2

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.

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

A great many regional patterns were exported from France and subsequently copied elsewhere. Some of them became local standards in their own right.

62: French regional patterns: the queens and jacks

62: French regional patterns: the queens and jacks

Continuing our look at the figures from the regional patterns of France.

61: French regional patterns: the kings

61: French regional patterns: the kings

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).

1750 Iohann Christoph Hes Tarot c.1750

Iohann Christoph Hes Tarot c.1750

Facsimile of Tarot de Marseille by Iohann Christoph Hes, Augsburg, c.1750.