Page 1





It might have something to do with the empy-nest syndrome some ordinary women suffer from but it seems most of them have small pets. Younger archetypal women tend to chose bigger dogs to nurture.

And all of a sudden everyone made coffee from pads. Though the machines come in a variety of luxurious versions, most average women have a basic one. Often accompanied with a more advanced machine, that is used in the weekends.

PiercingsLike tattoos piercings have become a form of expression for the average Dutch female. Especially the belly-button area, no matter what size or age.

Plus SizeWhat is plus size anyway? The average Dutch female has a size 42, certainly no model material. Or is it? With brands like Dove, H&M’s plus size collection, Vogue Italia’s recent plus size cover and even Tyra Banks adding more voluptuous girls in the hope of becoming America’s Next Top Model, things seem to be slowly changing.

Q Queing UpThe average woman spends quite a significant amount of time waiting in line.

R Reality TVThough she probably wouldn’t admit it but she loves a good reality show. And with good she means bad. So-called ordinary people willing to do anything for a certain amount of money or airtime.

RoutinesEvery average woman has a daily routine that gives her a sytem and a structure to life.

SeparatesThe Dutch stance towards practicality can be traced back to their love for separates. No couture dresses or complicated cocktail outfits for Dutch women. Instead they opt for separate items that can be paired up in multiple ways. The Dutch love a good twofer.

ShownewsIn recent years the 8 O’clock news has had many contenders but the NOS was always deemed the #1. But things changed with SBS6 and their form of news. A local fire, a kitty trapped in a tree and of course all the gossip of the entertainment industry. Shows like RTL Boulevard and De Wereld Draait Door also still the nation’s hunger for entertainment.

Soap OperasThe cliché image of the housewife addicted to soap operas has not been confirmed as such. The younger archetypes tend to watch Holland’s biggest soap ‘Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden’. While the older ones chose series such as ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ and ‘As the World Turns’, both of which have a massive Dutch following.

Step-InsReferring to both the shoe style where you slip your feet

Treggingsinto these back-less shoes, as well as the half-socks that are often accompanied with such a fashion statement on the feet.

T TattoosThough once a sign of a rugged sailor, criminal or prostitute, tattoos have become the norm for any ordinary person. For females there is the ever so popular tattoo on the lower back, perfectly in sync with the low-cut jeans and visible panty-line. If you’ve got it, why not flaunt it, right? There is also the permanent tattooing of lip liner and/or eye-brows, which saves up quite a bit in the end.

Thigh HighThe average female loves her some boots, preferably thigh high ánd under a skirt.

TLCThis is the latest addition to the landscape of TV channels and especially catered to women; average women that is.

TokkieThe actual name of a family that made headlines in the 90s with their a-social behavior. Their feuds with neighbors, authority and everyone else who stood in their way were to be seen by the entire nation because of a documentary that aired all of this. They became frequent guests on television and their name became the metaphor of all things lowerclass. ‘A Tokkie’ can be translated into ‘a chav’.

Top 40-

Just when we had to adjust to the leggings reappearing in the fashion landscape, all of a sudden there was the tregging; the legging’s sturdier sister. This prompted girls and women all over the country to start wearing them as pants an sich.

Trinny & SusannaThese two Brits were on a Dutch mission, when the flatchested one exclaimed to the one with the rack: “Why do all Dutch women wear these horrible jeans jackets”? As they ran into more and more women wearing this particular item of clothing they concluded it’s the Dutch woman’s safety blanket. One thing the average Dutch female remains insecure about is her bottom area and more often than not she will try and cover this up. Hence the tunic, a longer version of the blouse, offering some solace.

U These originally Australian shoes have taken over Holland by storm. Moreover, with the multitude of look-a-likes and replicas, the brand’s name has been smudged onto any similar looking shoes. It also defies any age barriers, from tweens, teens to housewives, everyone has a pair. What’s worse, more and more couples are wearing matching ones.

Uitzending Gemist-






gG cludin


Initiated by Thomas Stevens for the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI)


This annual event attracts thousands of people, all willing to dress up and sing along. Initially consisting of 3 solo singers, combining their strengths, but big egos clash and so one was replaced by another Dutch singer. In the meanwhile their popularity hasn’t wavered.

First published in 1997, weekly magazine Vriendin has managed to become the second to biggest magazine in Holland. Pretty impressive in industry that was once deemed as dead, what with the arrival of the online medium. Yet Vriendin has been able to develop a strong core basis upon which to build their brand. It caters to women from 25-49 with a lower income with which she supports herself and her family.

V&DDespite the tough times the department store has gone through, it has managed to get on top again. With a re-branding and re-styling V&D has managed to tap into

Another typically Dutch archetypal item of clothing, which is geared more towards practical characteristics, instead of fashionable ones. Preferably worn in combination with a spouse wearing a strikingly similar version.

Window Shopping-


There’s nothing more cozy then cuddling up in bed watching a missed episode of your favorite show with your loved one. Preferably on an I-pad.


W Windbreakers-



The Dutch love to go on holiday, but they need a piece of Holland to remind them of home. This could mean bringing Dutch products like peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles or visiting places that have strong ties with Holland, like Torremolinos. Getting the feeling you are abroad but able to get ‘a broodje kroket’, if necessary.

A compendium of archetypes of the average Dutch female consumer


When it comes to music the average woman does not have any demands. She has on the radio channels that airs some pop music as well as classics.


out of the ordinary

society’s current needs. A recent survey showed the nation’s appreciation of V&D and department stores in general. Which is surprising as the Dutch have never really been ‘mall-types’.

As rational as they are, the Dutch are no types to impulsively spend. Instead, they carefully select, wait and compare. It makes them feel they’re responsible for making the best deal possible.

X Xenophobia-




This term refers to the average women taking longer to come to terms with certain changes. They have their routines and do not like to do things any differently. It also refers to the fashion industry suspiciously eyeing anyone not wanting to stand out.

Y Average is Awesome: Giving Ordinary a Face In accordance with the Premsela Institute of Dutch Design & Fashion

Yvon JaspersThe face of Boer Zoekt Vrouw goes by the name of Yvon Jaspers. Moreover, she has become the epitome of all

things Dutch. Wholesome, dressed in layered Oilily type of clothing, with not an ounce of skin showing. She is also criticized for the same reasons. Granted, she truly is her own brand and knows exactly where she’s taking it.

Z ZeemanA brand that apparently understands the power of branding. With the (anonymous) showing at Fashion Week, the Bas Kosters collection, the Muts Have campaign to the ‘free’ yellow boxers with Zeeman logo, you can’t help but to applaud their efforts.

ZumbaIn their attempts to remain fit, the average woman is willing to experiment. 10 years ago it was salsa, 5 years ago it was yoga and now it’s Zumba time; an exotic mix of different dance moves.

# 3/4For some reason this is the preferred sleeve length for the average Dutch woman, it might save up time rolling them up? It is also the preferred item of clothing to wear under a thin strapped dress or a T-shirt, or a blouse for that matter.

7/8The preferred length of pants, accompanied with loafers and a windbreaker. Dictionary / Flip Over To Start

GLOSSARY With this first edition of the Out of the Ordinary compendium comes a complimentary glossary. This makes it even easier to understand some of the inside information provided. Currently working on the second edition, which is centered around French maids in and around suburbs of Paris and a third probably involving Swedish strippers, author Thomas Stevens carefully handpicks his subjects. With his manifestations of the mundane he presents his topics as neutral as possible, yet is able to become more intimate as time elapses. This results in an honest documentation, which draws you in and allows you to enter a door which previously had been closed; offering a sneak peek into the lives of average, everyday people. Giving ordinary a face ánd a voice.

A Acrylic Nails-

married to Leontine, a former ‘Wheel of Fortune’ assistant.



Easy Everything-

IkeaWhat would the average house look like without the accessibility of an Ikea? Probably a lot less decorative and/ or stylized. Besides that, it remains a favorite pastime of the Dutch; scouring the store on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The preferred choice of nail for the average female. They are either done at one of the zillion nail-salons or at home by way of do-it-yourself-kits.


The average Dutch female likes things that make her life more easy but it also a keyword in describing her sense of style and/or fashion.

Alberti Clan-


This extensive family has produced legendary singer Johnny Jordaan, Willeke Alberti’s father. She in turn is Johnny de Mol’s mother, of a previous marriage to infamous mediatycoon John de Mol, who in turn is Linda de Mol’s brother.

The Dutch discounter retailer is still going strong. Even after the saddest of slogans, simply translated to ‘Especially Now’, referring to the recession, C&A remains the pinnacle of Dutch fashion; practical and pragmatic.


Albert Cuyp-


One of Holland’s coziest and most authentic markets, though any local market will suffice. Here, you can find all walks of life joined together by local merchandise.

Albert HeynThe giant supermarket chain with a logo that has the same effect as the M of McDonalds. Though higher priced as other chains, Albert Heyn attracts everyone from yuppies to housewives.

All InclusiveThe preferred choice of going on holiday for the Dutch. Holiday means holiday and this means no cooking, cleaning or any other household activity

B Bacardi-

Not as shabby as they used to be, campings remain chockfull of Dutch, no pun intended, happy campers. Either with an old-fashioned tent or a slightly more luxurious mobile home.

Capri PantsThough we are not at the Rivièra, Dutch women love their Capri pants, no matter what size, age or weather. Preferably paired up with a coat that falls above the waist and sportive shoes that require the use of Velcro.

Cooking TVIt all started with Albert Heyn’s ‘Allerhande’ and has expanded into several culinary shows and even a 24/7 hour food channel on TV.

CottonThough we have many more developments considering material, the Dutch remain one of the biggest contractors of cotton.

´Een Baco´tje´ is a common expression at any given Dutch bar. The Bacardi & Coke drink has infiltrated ordinary homes and is ever-present in any liqor-cabinet.




One of the most unflattering types of shoes for women, unless you are able to do a pirouette on the spot. Especially plus-size women have a tendency squashing their feet into a pair of these monstrosities.


Whether in the privacy of your own family or with the entire neighborhood, once the first rays of sun hit Holland, there’s no stopping Dutch and their barbecues.


Another flat-feet phenomenon are these originally orthopedic, Scandinavian sandals. Yet they have taken over the Dutch fashion landscape, gracing the soles of nurses, nannies and anything in between.

Boer Zoekt Vrouw-

Even after all these years still a massive hit, Emo-TV at its finest. Endearingly unadapted farmers looking for the love of their lives en pleine public.

Borsato ClanMother Mary Borsato is the archetypal Dutch bridal gown designer. Her son is archetypal Dutch singer Marco, who’s

As sober as the Dutch are described in their lifestyle, as decorative they are when it comes to interior design. Probably due to stores like Xenos and Action that sell cheaper versions of what is sold in Ikea and Trendhopper.

DenimIf there is one thing that has become synonymous to being Dutch, it is to wear denim. Denim jackets, skirts and prints of the nation’s favorite fabric are fully represented in the Dutch landscape of fashion. It also defies any size, age, gender, class or race.

DiscounterThe Dutch like it cheap. And so there is a massive amount of discounters all selling the same stuff.

DoveThe brand that made ordinary sexy again.

Dutch CutsOne thing even people from abroad notice is how it seems all average women have their hair cut at the same hairdresser. Short hair means less fuss.

Like a moth to a flame, the ordinary women are drawn to shows like ‘Vermist’, ‘Spoorloos’, ‘Grenzeloos Verliefd’ and ‘All You Need Is Love’. A box of tissues is surely required.

ExactitudesThis art project has been essential as inspiration, capturing a slice of life, without being condescending. They’ve managed to visualize just that which had otherwise remained a figment of the brain.

F Floor TilesVery popular in the 90s during the Minimalist period, these tiles still remain part of the interior of some households. Mainly those that are deemed as less fashionable.

Figure Corrective-

Ik Hou van HollandWho would have thought the old-fashioned feeling of a Saturday night show could return in this fragmented era? With a little Linda de Mol magic and the nation’s longing for a cozy, communal feeling, ‘Ik Hou van Holland’ brings in massive ratings each week.

J JeansThe beacon of informality is a pair of jeans, which makes sense considering the Dutch mentality concerning fashion. Hence, the Dutch donning denim pants as if it’s their last day on earth.


The taboo has been lifted and almost all women own figure corrective underwear. More importantly, there are now also garments that use the same technique, like a basic black top with lace appliqué.

Keeping It Local-


Keeping Up Appearances-

Garden PaintingsIn their mission to decorate their homes, the average women have gone as far as hanging up garden-art; paintings that are weather-proof for a splash of color in the backyard.

H Hema-

Good ol’ Hema. After years of being spat on, the Dutch brand has been embraced by all walks of life, not in the least because of ‘El Hema’ and their strong design aesthetic.

HuishoudbeursThis annual event attracts thousands of women in search of the newest kitchen appliances as well as other free samples and/or giveaways, no matter how useless.

HyvesFounded in 2004, Hyves has quickly become part of the Dutch households. With over 10 million users and an average age of 30, Hyves has a growing older demographic, especially in comparison to Facebook which caters to a much younger target audience.

One of the most vital parameters of the research was to keep it local, this to remain as focused as possible but also to present an authentic as possible image of the ordinary woman. As open and direct the Dutch may seem, it will take more to get past the surface of pleasantries. Stern and stoic, as are brisk and brash, are often used in describing the Dutch.

L LeggingsThough this particular item of clothing had been banned for a long time, all of a sudden they reappeared again and they soon became etched into the Dutch landscape of fashion. Especially the white ones in various lengths with lace trimmings are a hit.

LibelleFirst published in 1934, weekly magazine Libelle has managed to become a lifestyle brand. One that is embraced by Dutch women nationwide and scoffed at by many others. Reaching over a million households on a weekly basis is nothing to look down upon. The annual Libelle Zomerweek is also a place to spot archetypal Dutch females in the wild.

Linda de MolSister of media-tycoon John and aunt to his acting son Johnny, Linda has managed to become a household

name, an establishment in its own right. Besides being a successful presenter, producer and actress, she is also the ‘founder’ of one of Holland’s more accomplished magazines.

Lip LinerThe average Dutch female is very consistent when it comes to fashion. Using the same make-up as when they are 17, just like how they still wear the same bra-size though their bust surely has changed over the years. Some women even go to the extent of tattooing their lip- and/or eye liner permanently.

LOI CoursesOften with only a high school diploma, the average Dutch woman may reach a point of contemplating her education. These studies, conducted from the comfort of their own homes, enable women to develop themselves at a later stage in life.

M MarktplaatsThough its name refers to an offline place where question and demand meet, the online equivalent has quickly become a household name. The rules are simple and possibilities endless.

Morning TVWith husband and children out of the house, early mornings are reserved for cleaning the house while having the TV on in the background. ‘Koffietijd’ is an example of an archetypal morning television programme. Previously this time slot was filled with Call

TV-esque programmes until rules were sharpened.

N Nordic WalkingDespite this form of exercise being associated with senior citizens, more and more average women take up the ‘neither here nor there’ activity. Anyone can do it and you can travel in packs, which is a plus.

Nude PantyhoseNow no one has ever suggested panty hose are supposed to be sexy but it does not help when they come in nude colors and peek out from under ill-fitting jeans.

NutellaThough not a Dutch brand by any means, Nutella hàs become part of Dutch culture. And like every culture has its own type of breakfast, the Dutch one surely includes Nutella.

O Online DatingMore and more women use the services of online dating, finding a potential partner online is no longer for the sad and psychotic. Some women even use it to have the occasional one-night stand.

Online GamingAnother favorite pastime of the Dutch is online gaming. Mind you, we’re not talking ‘Resident Evil’ here but innocent games like Patience, Wordfeud and FarmVille.

Dictionary / Flip Over To Read More


The supplementary glossary that goes with the graduation project OUT OF THE ORDINARY

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you