BELGIUM

Playing card manufacturers like Brepols, Biermans, Van Genechten, La Turnhoutoise and Mesmaekers have all exported their decks to The Netherlands. Since the beginning of the 20th century they have introduced several standard patterns here and almost all these makers have produced their versions of this "Dutch" pattern. Each pattern was usually accompanied by scenic aces, depicting views from different Dutch cities and towns. Below are some examples with different patterns from different decades and by different Belgian makers.

One of the earliest "Dutch" souvenir decks in our collection was made around 1880 by the Belgian manufacturer Brepols & Dierckx from Turnhout. The Kings show Dutch royalty, but the Queens and Jacks show Dutch regional costumes.

A few other -slightly different- versions of this deck are known. The aces show scenes from 8 different cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Zaandam, Dordrecht, Leiden and Scheveningen. Although the deck is usually dated round 1880, the designs on the aces seem to be older. On the Ace of Spades the Royal Palace and Dam Square are depicted without the statue of "Naatje", which was erected there in 1856. 

     

 


This set of scenic aces was made by La Turnhoutoise from Turnhout. It was published with a poorly drawn version of the Frankfurt pattern as a 33 cards deck. The extra six of Hearts functioned as a joker in some Dutch games.
It has also been published as a 53 cards deck, accompanied by the Dutch pattern. Both decks must have been introduced here
in the late 1920's. This is based on the combination of three scenes.

 

 


Upside down on the Ace of Clubs is the Colonial Museum, which didn't open its doors until 1926, and on the Ace of Diamonds the City Hall of Hilversum is depicted. The depicted building lost that function in 1931. Also shown is the "Paleis voor de Volksvlijt" (Palace of National Industry, upside down on the Ace of Hearts), which was destroyed by fire in 1929. Of course there's always an uncertainty when using depicted buildings as a means of dating. The fact that the Colonial Museum opened in 1926 doesn't mean that the depicted building was drawn after it had been finished. Sometimes depicted buildings have been drawn, based upon earlier published architectural plans, before the building was actually finished.

        

And on the Ace of Diamonds in the following set of scenic aces, in the background of the depicted "Hoogesluis" bridge, the Palace of National Industry is still visible. Although that building was destroyed by fire in 1929, it is no indication that both these decks were published before 1930. Probably the design remained in use, because the palace is only visible in the background and the scene isnít named after it, but after the depicted Hoogesluis Bridge.

 

These two decks were made by Mesmaekers from Turnhout and published in the Netherlands in the 1930's. In the first deck (52+j) this set of scenic aces was accompanied by courts of which the Queens especially show an elaborate, Art Deco influenced, design. The same set of aces was also used by Mesmaekers in a 32 cards "piquet" deck, Nr. 1403B, that was accompanied by an almost exact copy of the Rhineland pattern by Dondorf. This set of aces has also been printed in black and white for other decks. There's an interesting depiction of the Royal Palace on the Ace of Spades. It's the only ace in our collection that shows the front of the palace and not the side facing the Dam square, which is usually depicted, but is actually the backside of the palace. The main entrance is on the left side, straight under the Atlas figure on top. The palace was originally built between 1648 and 1665 as a city hall, facing a canal on the west side of the center. In 1808 the building was appointed to become the palace of the French king Louis Napoleon. He fancied the idea of a broad view on a large square, where large crowds could gather and for this purpose the weighing-house, situated on the square at the back of the palace was demolished that same year. Since then that square, the Dam, became the central point in Amsterdam and the view of the backside of the palace and this square can be found in almost every set of scenic aces.


  

Showed the previous set scenes from different cities, a slightly later published set shows 7 scenes from Amsterdam and 1 from Rotterdam. Here shown with an own version of the Rhineland pattern and a special advertising joker. The basic designs of some scenes are quite similar, although they were redrawn. This set by Mesmaekers has also been published in colour in the 1950's.

 

This deck by Van Genechten was published in a 33 cards version as "Piquet Nr. 160 G", but also as a 53 cards deck. It has the maker's version of the Rhineland pattern and Dutch indices. The aces show scenes from different Dutch cities.

 

The deck was published in the 1930's. The "Pier in Scheveningen", as depicted on the Ace of Diamonds, was constructed around 1900 but dismantled by the Germans in 1943.

Although an indigenous company, the Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, has produced many decks for the Dutch market between 1909 and 1969, the Belgian manufacturers from Turnhout have Ėwith some intervals- always held the greater part of this market.

 

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