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Ceramics & Tiles


Because of mutual influences, ceramics and tiles form one of the most important meeting points of Turkish and Dutch culture. In the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, ceramics from the Middle East, including Ottoman products mainly from Iznik, became increasingly popular in Europe and were collected by both museums and rich private collectors. This fascination for Ottoman ceramics also reached the Netherlands, where in the late 19th and early 20th century various factories (De Porceleyne Fles, Rozenburg, Zuid-Holland, Arhemsche Faiencefabriek) started to produce ceramics inspired by the shapes and decors of Ottoman ceramics. It is interesting to note, however, that already as early as the 17th century depictions of “Turks” (mainly sultans and horsemen) were used as ornaments on Dutch tiles. From the late 17th century onwards Dutch tiles also started to have influence on the ornamentation of tiles made in Kütahya and Istanbul. In the 18th century, especially during the rule of the sultans Mahmud I, Osman III, Mustafa III and Abdülhamid I large quantities of Dutch tiles with fashionable baroque-rococo decors were imported for use in imperial buildings such as the Topkapı Palace.

Tulip vases can be considered as one of the most fascinating ceramic products. The reason is that not only the tulip, but also the tulip vase belongs to the shared cultural heritage of both countries. Modern designers, like for example Lotte van Laatum, and ceramists in both Turkey and the Netherlands are often inspired by this phenomenon, creating modern tulip vases and thereby combining the shared rich heritage of both cultures.