The Intangible Heritage Netherlands Inventory contains intangible heritage of which the heritage community, group or individual has written a guarantee plan to give the heritage a future. That plan has been tested by an independent Review Committee. Heritage care is evaluated every two years.


Staphorst dotwork is a technique to decorate fabrics and other materials. Dots of paint are stamped on the fabric. Each stamp has its own colour and as the shapes and the colours are combined, patterns are formed. Each ‘dotter’ develops his or her own stamps and patterns. Some patterns and designs are repeated, like leaves and flower patterns or examples from folk art. The colours that are used tell us something about the wearer. Blue, for instance, is the colour of mourning. The more colour is used in the blue patterns, the less heavy is the mourn. Red, on the other hand, is only worn outside the mourning period. By modernising the paint and the stamps, it is now possible to print other materials than fabrics and the dotted fabrics can be washed in the  machine. The principle and the technique of the dotwork have not changed. Nowadays plastics and other synthetic materials are printed with dotwork in Staphorst. Traditional Staphorst dotwork on modern utensils and clothing, like jewellery, underwear, bathing costumes and Christmas baubles.



All the people in Staphorst are more or less involved in the dotwork. Ladies in Staphorst who are still wearing traditional costumes, often print their own fabrics. Apart from this group Gerard van Oosten is one of the most active Staphorst dotters. He gives dotwork workshops and since a few years he has been busy with a group of young people from Staphorst to develop contemporary products. In this way new generations remain involved in this technique and work is done to give a future to the dotwork. Many are actively engaged in the traditional dotwork. The Staphorst Museum farm is a wide network around dotwork.



To imitate expensive fabrics with woven-in patterns, medieval Europe decorated fabrics by means of oil print. Pigments were mixed with, for instance, linseed oil or varnish to make a printing paste, to be used for printing on the fabrics with wooden blocks. The fabrics were not very suitable for clothing, as they were rather stiff and heavy. Moreover, the print dissolved quickly when washed. Frans Vloedgraven, owner of a textiles shop in Staphorst, started to sell hand-printed fabrics in the village. He had seen a farmer’s wife with a black sleeveless jacket with little white dotwork flowers. Vloedgraven thought that this would fit in the Staphorst traditional costume. The new fashion was widely appreciated and others started to sell these fabrics and the stamps as well. When supplier Palthe stopped selling the fabrics in 1929, Vloedgraven’s son went there and took up the study. He came back with knowledge on the techniques and with the required materials. It was the starting point for the production of dotwork-printed fabrics in Staphorst. At the same time the women in Staphorst started to decorate fabrics for their costumes with manual dotwork. They made their own stamps and developed their own patterns and designs. As of 2010 more attention was generated for dotwork, partly on the initiative of inhabitants, partly because the fashion designer Ricardo Ramos designed a collection that was inspired by the traditional costumes of Staphorst. Paint-technician Gerard van Oosten from Staphorst noticed that the traditional paint did not meet the contemporary criteria anymore, with its toxic substances, long drying-time and unsuitability for washing machines. Based on the traditional paint, he developed a new paint, with a similar colour and shine as the traditional one. With this new paint, numerous new possibilities were opened for dotwork. Lingerie, sunglasses, Christmas baubles and many other things can now be decorated with Staphorst dotwork.



Stichting Staphorster Stipwerk
Gemeenteweg 67
7951 CE Staphorst