Royal embroidery – stitches and stories

1 December 2022 til 29 May 2023

Seize your chance to admire both the historical and new curtains of Paleis Huis ten Bosch – the residential palace of Her Majesty Queen Máxima and King Willem Alexander – in the TextielMuseum!

Share exhibition

Detail from the machine-embroidered new curtain designed by Liesbeth Stinissen, showing Huis ten Bosch Palace, photo: Josefina Eikenaar
Her Majesty Queen Máxima and members of the ‘Stik en Strijkgroep’ embroidery group from ‘Het Ronde Tafelhuis’ in Tilburg during an embroidery masterclass given by master hand embroiderer Anna Bolk in the TextielMuseum, photo: Maarten Schuth

About the exhibition

Royal embroidery: stitches and stories’ gives visitors the unique opportunity to admire both the historical and new curtains for Huis ten Bosch Palace, the royal residence of Her Majesty Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander. Together with more than 150 embroiderers from across the Netherlands, Her Majesty Queen Máxima helped embroider this new piece of cultural heritage. The exhibition offers a rare look inside Huis ten Bosch Palace and a glimpse behind the scenes of this extensive creative project while revealing the wealth of stories that arise when people embroider together.

Old and new

The historical curtains, which hung in the Chinese Hall of Huis ten Bosch Palace, were made in 18th-century Canton, China. The curtains are now too fragile for use but can be seen in the TextielMuseum for the last time before they are preserved. The curtains depict numerous embroidered scenes that are highly symbolic. The multifaceted stories hidden behind the everyday images provide insight into the social status, dress and architecture of China at the time.

Detail from the historical curtains, unknown embroidery workshop in Guangzhou, ca. 1791. HTB 0680, Royal Collections of the Netherlands in The Hague, photo: Maarten Schuth

A new design

The new curtains were designed by The Hague designer Liesbeth Stinissen, who took inspiration from the historical curtains. For example, water and other natural elements play a prominent role on both the historical and new curtains. Where the historical curtains depict a Chinese river, the new curtains show the Dutch river delta. The meandering waterways connect various architectural icons and daily scenes from The Netherlands’ rich history, some of which have a special link to the Royal House.

Sample of the new curtains for Huis ten Bosch Palace, showing the Sint Servaas Bridge in Maastricht, photo: Patty van den Elshout
Detail from the machine-embroidered new curtain designed by Liesbeth Stinissen, showing the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, photo: Josefina Eikenaar
Detail from the machine-embroidered new curtain designed by Liesbeth Stinissen, showing the Berlage Kiosk in The Hague, photo: Josefina Eikenaar
Machine embroidery specialist Frank de Wind, designer Liesbeth Stinissen and master hand embroiderer Anna Bolk researching materials in the TextielLab for the machine-embroidered part of the new curtains for Huis ten Bosch Palace, photo: Willeke Machiels

Craftsmanship

The exhibition takes you through all aspects of the new curtains’ design and production. Sketches and samples show the creative choices Liesbeth Stinissen made to arrive at the final design. In the TextielLab, Stinissen explored the countless possibilities of computer-controlled embroidery with machine embroidery expert Frank de Wind. Samples are provided for you to touch, helping to bring the intricate details of the design to life.

“Joint embroidery connects; it provides encounters, conversation and exchange of knowledge and skills.”

– Hebe Verstappen, Head of the TextielLab

The TextielLab’s machine embroidery specialist Frank de Wind working with designer Liesbeth Stinissen (r) and master hand embroiderer Anna Bolk (l) on the machine-embroidered part of the new curtains for Huis ten Bosch Palace. Photo: Willeke Machiels

Connecting threads

More than 150 people from embroidery groups as far apart as Friesland and Zeeland as well as Her Majesty Queen Máxima herself helped to develop the new curtains. Overseen by master hand embroiderer Anna Bolk, they embroidered various natural elements that were then attached by hand to the machine-embroidered curtains. The exhibition includes a personal embroidery from each group. These tell the stories behind the makers’ passion for the craft, which sometimes goes back generations. Embroidering together creates connections and nurtures conversations and the exchange of knowledge and skills.

The following embroidery groups contributed to the project:

  1. Amsterdam: Tesselschade Amsterdam
  2. Amsterdam: Meesteropleiding Kunstborduren
  3. Arnhem: Queer Needlework Circle
  4. Bad-Nieuweschans: Borduurgroep Jessica de Boer van Brouwershaven
  5. Beilen: Vrouwen van Nu
  6. Borne: Museum Bussemakerhuis
  7. Capelle a/d IJssel: Borduurgroep Fatima Abbadi
  8. Dordrecht: Wit op Wit Naaldkunst Atelier
  9. Geldrop: De Wiele Creatief
  10. Hoorn: About a Jacket
  11. Kollumerzwaag: Borduurgroep Ans Nout
  12. Maastricht: Hester Dennissen Goudborduren
  13. Middelburg: Pennywafelhuis
  14. Rotterdam: Zadkine Fashion
  15. Tilburg: Stik en Strijkgroep Het Ronde Tafelhuis
  16. Utrecht: De Voorkamer

Supported by

logo Ministerie van Onderwijs, cultuur en wetenschap - zwart/wit