The New Zeeuws Meisje. 2011
For over a hundred years, Zeeuws Meisje (‘Girl from Zeeland’) in her typical regional dress was the face of a margarine brand of the same name. With slogans like ‘not a cent too much’ and ‘us Zeelanders are thrifty’ the television ads featuring Zeeuws Meisje had long become obsolete – but the image persisted.
In 2011, Rem suddenly realises the visual potential of this iconic young woman in traditional dress to bridge the divide between a nostalgic idea of the past and the reality of present-day society. He decides to launch a competition to find The New Zeeuws Meisje. A call for women of all ages to send in original ideas for a photoshoot yields hundreds of proposals, twenty of which are eventually realised. Zeeuws Meisje becomes Mussels Girl, Sugar Bun Girl, Sheep’s Wool Girl and Harley Davidson Girl. Over 10,000 people vote online for their favourite candidate. The winner is sixteen-year-old Anne van Weenen who donnes a modern interpretation of the traditional attire, made from her grandmother’s dress.
“The New Zeeuws Meisje can be an 80-year-old lady in lingerie on a canopy bed of Zeeland clay, or a teenager milking the cows at daybreak dressed as Lady Gaga – anything is possible.”