Queen Juliana Exhibition

We’re joined today by royalty journalist, genealogist, researcher and author of blog Netty Royal, Netty Leistra, who shares a wonderful look at the Queen Juliana exhibition at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Welcome, Netty!

The Century of Queen Juliana

On 13 October 2022, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands opened an exhibition about her mother Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004). On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of Juliana as Queen of the Netherlands the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam presents the exhibition “The century of Juliana, a queen and her ideals”. She was a head of state in a time in which there were lots of changes. Most important, the colonies Dutch East Indies and Suriname became independent states. Personally, she loved simplicity and humanity. Her eventful life lasted for 94 years. The 75th anniversary of her inauguration provides a good opportunity for retrospection. For many Dutch she is a historical figure, others personally witnessed part her life. The exhibition is open until 10 April 2023.

The church in the heart of Amsterdam has created a spectacular palace setting. Visitors travel to Juliana’s royal world and also learn more about the history of the Netherlands. Eyewitnesses share their memories of Queen Juliana through film and audio. Over 400 objects, including clothing, tableware, photographs, historical documents and art from her birth to the end of her life illustrate her life. Over 100 objects are on loan from the Royal Collections, others from museums and private collections . Visitors can see her inauguration dress, headscarves, glasses, children’s clothes and toys, her wedding dress, and even a monogrammed Rolls Royce and the Crème Calèche carriage.

But of course “Royal Hats” is all about hats. Under the influence of her husband Prince Bernhard and his aunt Allene Tew, Juliana during her honeymoon was turned from a young girl in old-fashioned clothes into an elegant, fashionable Princess. She lost some weight and bought clothes at the Parisian couturiers Worth and Molyneux. Juliana also since became a huge fan of jewelry. After World War II she needed new clothes. She bought items at the Maison de Bonneterie and also discovered the young Swiss couturier Erwin Dolder, who designed the dress for her inauguration in 1948. Juliana had only one wish: she didn’t want to wear a tiara. Dolder designed a cap in Renaissance style. He created the cap out of violin-strings and painted them in the colour of the dress. He decorated it with diamond stars and pearls from the royal jewelry collection.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Queen Juliana herself wasn’t too interested in clothes, and preferred her hats to be small, but quite regularly also extravagant. She especially liked berets and headscarves. At her Silver wedding anniversary in 1962, Juliana chose a white hat in the form of a carnation, as a homage to her husband.

A cream draped cloche and embroidered shoes from her childhood

Another childhood hat, in straw

Hat with daisies, worn by Juliana at the christening of Princess Margriet in 1943

For the wedding of Princess Beatrix on March 10, 1966, Queen Juliana wore her hat, created by Lien Bergé-Farwick, backwards, which rather shocked the designer.

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Draped hat created by Ernst-Jan Beeuwkes, worn at the April 30 1980 inauguration of Queen Beatrix

As a royal she had to wear hats on many occasions. She however disliked hats so much at the end of her life, that friends and the pastor at her memorial service went hatless. Unfortunately Juliana didn’t see her clothes and hats as historical objects, and many probably didn’t survive. However, a few very interesting items are on display in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

If you happen to be in Amsterdam before 10 April, I very much recommend you taking a look at the exhibition.

Netty- thank you for this fantastic view of the hats included in this exhibition. The detail on many of these hats is astounding (just look at the stitching on the blue hat above!) and the story behind the inauguration headdress is fascinating. I really admire how Queen Juliana, a reluctant hat wearer, made her millinery style one that worked for herself. And I have new appreciation that not all queens like wearing hats!

Images from Getty as indicated and Netty Leistra. Photos may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

6 thoughts on “Queen Juliana Exhibition

  1. Thank you, Netty, for sharing your photos and observations. I wish I could see this exhibit. Such an interesting case — to be someone who was not interested in hats, but had to wear them. But the Renaissance style cap is such a striking alternative to a tiara! At least she was enthusiastic about jewels!

  2. Juliana may not have been a big fan of hats, but she looked good in many she wore over the decades. It’s nice some of them were saved and could be part of this exhibition.

  3. For a queen who disliked hats, Juliana certainly did wear a lot of them. Of the ones on display, I could find only one actually being worn, and the photos are not very good. Unfortunately, I agree with Roberto on most of his comments; however, I wouldn’t necessarily say the queen had bad taste – she simply wasn’t interested in fashion. Thank goodness Beatrix and Maxima came along later.

    1972: Greenwich, London
    Embed from Getty Images

  4. Queen Juliana hated hats. The ones on exhibit display her bad taste as well as the rugged edge of the amateur who made them. There is nothing “striking” or “royal” about them, which they should be.

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