Centuries-old Netherlands-India textile tradition revived with cotton printing studio De Katoendrukkerij’s opening

The opening of a cotton printing studio in the city of Amersfoort in the Netherlands has revived the centuries-old textile tradition with India, according to an official statement on Tuesday.

The opening of a cotton printing studio in the city of Amersfoort in the Netherlands has revived the centuries-old textile tradition with India, according to an official statement on Tuesday. India’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Venu Rajamony opened De Katoendrukkerij cotton printing studio with Amersfoort’s Deputy Mayor Willem-Jan Stegeman in De Volmolen on Saturday, it said. “De Katoendrukkerij will now continue this rich tradition by starting a centre of expertise in contemporary block printing. Besides reviving and innovating old print techniques from India, the centre will also promote the centuries-old shared textile tradition between India and the Netherlands,” the statement issued by Indian Embassy in Denmark.

The centre plans to organise workshops, lectures and small exhibitions, and also invite European and Indian master craftsmen to share their knowledge and skills, it said. “Their guestrooms will also be used for the artist-in-residence programme. The local council and municipality of Amersfoort is very proud to be the cradle of this mutual historical heritage and to keep this 400-year-old shared heritage alive,” the statement said. Cotton printing techniques came to the Netherlands in the 17th century from India, it said. “Opening of this studio is an effort to revive knowledge and centuries-old shared textile tradition between India and The Netherlands,” the statement said.

India and The Netherlands have been connected through trade for centuries, but not many know that Indian textiles have had a big impact on the Dutch culture, it said. De Katoendrukkerij took to their Instagram and shared, “What a great opening weekend! The official opening of the Katoendrukkerij in De Volmolen in Amersfoort (NL) on 24th of October 2020 went smooth and pleasant. In the context of the shared cultural heritage between India and the Netherlands, his Excellency ambassador of India, Venu Rajamony, together with deputy major of Amersfoort Willem-Jan Stegeman performed the opening ceremony by handprinting three memorial cloths with the Ashoka chakra from the Indian flag as well as the city weapon of Amersfoort. In the 17th century the first blockprint workshop of Europe settled in the city of Amersfoort. This old printing technique with wooden blockprints came from India and was brought here through the Dutch East India Company. The current Katoendrukkerij is the first and only specialized blockprint workshop of the Netherlands where both the craft as well as this shared cultural heritage is carried forward.”

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) brought the famous Chintz fabric to the Netherlands in the 17th century. The first Chintz workshop was opened in the city of Amersfoort in 1678. Apart from cotton and a new design, the techniques of working with natural dyes was also introduced from India, the statement said. “India and the Netherlands have a long history of friendly bilateral relations going back to more than 400 years, encompassing many areas of shared interest,” it said.

The Netherlands is one of the first three countries that established diplomatic relations with independent India in 1947. The Netherlands is the third-largest foreign investor in India with investments amounting to USD 6.5 billion in 2019-20, the statement said. In his book ‘India and The Netherlands – Past, Present and Future’, Ambassador Rajamony describes the Fashion of the Golden Age – Chintz – a multi-coloured cotton fabric, with a glaze finish and intricate flower motifs introduced to the Netherlands by the VOC and how the Chintz soon defined the way the Dutch elite dressed and decorated their houses.

Source: Hindustan Times