Holland was recently blanketed by an *unprecedented* amount of snow, bringing claps of joy and a sense of normalcy to a cold and long winter spent in lockdown.
A country veined by canals and lakes, the arrival of multiple sub-zero days turned the Netherlands into one giant ice rink for a week, and the buckets of snow, the entire country into a winter wonderland. To help celebrate this historic moment in the pint-sized but big-hearted country, we asked our cute Dutch pal Lotte Wierenga to give us a taste of her life, feat. (not so) practical snow shoes, sun-drenched sewing sessions, tulips, and insightful letters to self.
When she’s not curating TDF photo diaries for us, you’ll find her going for long walks in her hometown of Castricum (a super sweet beach town, 20-minutes from Amsterdam), making bows and marble prints, and working as a freelance stylist. But, more on that below…
Can you give us the Lotte elevator pitch?
Hello! My name is Lotte, and I’m a 24-year-old Dutchie who works as a freelance stylist and full-time Lot du Jour owner.
What’s the best thing about living in Holland during winter?
The best thing about living in Holland is that during an average winter—when the sky is its bluest and the air is crispy cold—being outside just feels so fresh. You can feel it on your cheeks, and it’s the best feeling ever. But!! Every few years, we get really lucky and are able to ice skate on the ditches, lakes and canals. Like this year.
What does an ideal winter getaway look like to you?
My ideal getaway would be to go Terschelling, one of the Dutch islands up North in Holland. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of Holland.
What’s your favourite local food to eat?
Sometimes I dream about the french toast croissants you can get at The Laatste Kruimel, a bakery shop in Amsterdam. I think if you are visiting Amsterdam it’s a must-visit/eat thing. And, in general, I think we Dutchies bake the best bread and make the nicest butter. (I’m not a very haute cuisine person, as you can tell).
Where would you take someone visiting your hometown for the first time?
If someone were to visit my hometown Castricum—or as I like to call it, Cassie—I would take them for a bike ride to the beach.
Best Dutch phrases we need to learn?
“Nooit een gegeven paard in the bek kijken”. Literal translation: Don’t look a given horse in his mouth, which means, “Don’t complain about things that are gifted.”
What is your thought process when getting dressed in the morning?
There’s no real process, but I feel like I do try a bit harder on days I’m not feeling ‘it’. Wearing a colourful item or something fabulous helps me lift my mood up! And, also, what I watch influences my style a lot. Don’t be surprised if one day you have to look twice because you think you see Harry Styles, but in reality, it’s me!
Can you tell us a bit about Lot du Jour and how it’s evolved in the last year?
Lot du Jour is an ever-evolving thing! If I like something, whether this is an animal, color, or a new ‘skill’, I go all the way. Lot du Jour started as a page to share my drawings, and now it feels like my Lot du Jour world where I share everything that brings me joy.
What styling jobs are you most proud of to date?
My own book collector’s item about collectors, which I made for my studies, is definitely on top of the list! And recently I did the styling for a SuitSupply campaign called, "The new normal” which really reflected what perhaps we are all longing for.
What would you say your life philosophy is? And, has it changed or been challenged in the past year?
"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”—Rainer Maria Rilke. Sometimes in the past, I felt Lot du Worry would be a more suitable name for me but I really like this quote and it’s something I’m learning to live by more and more.
You have a lot of fingers in different pies—from making bows and marbling to styling and drawing illustrations. What is the common link between all your creative outputs?
Mmm, I think the common link would maybe be that I truly enjoy everything I do (And am able to do!)? I can only hope that that is something that shows in my work.
What Dutch brands do we need to know about?
WolfWare is a must-follow! They have the nicest items and they work in small quantities, partly made in an atelier in Belgium and partly made in a small factory in Istanbul. Nice prints, and often made using deadstock fabric, so you know you own something special when you buy at Wolf. And, not to forget about my FAVORITE WolfWare thing… THE MINI SKIRTS! I loooove a good mini skirt!
What is one thing that you think would surprise people about Holland?
I always feel like people see Holland as Amsterdam and if you leave the city you will find yourself in no-mans-land. Whereas Holland actually has some pretty special nature reserves and other fun cities. The dutch ‘wadden eilanden’ are on the UNESCO list. And, I think it’s really nice that most small towns really stick to the Dutch heritage that they are known for and are proud of what they stand for. You could go to Alkmaar for the cheese market or Staphorst for the nicest fabrics.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned recently?
The coolest thing I’ve learned is to learn to make my own clothes. But, it’s something I really underestimated. Pattern making for me is like
top-notch math and to sew is a very tough job. I have so much more respect now for brands that work with small productions or that are still making items by hand. Luckily I have a very good teacher, who has been teaching the art of sewing for over more than 30 years. My goal is to be wearing a dress this summer that is 100% 'made' by me from scratch.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
Hard question! There are so many things that can make a perfect day. But I would say those days that begin or end with going to the cinema. That would qualify as a perfect day.
Best books/movies/shows you consumed over winter?
I’m currently watching Sex and the City for probably the 8th time whilst also listening to the podcast ‘Sentimental Garbage’ where Caroline O’Donoghue and Dolly Alderton talk about the show. I also recently watched Love Story (1970), and think A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a very endearing movie to watch in general. I used to go to the cinemas maybe once or twice a week, but with everything being closed, I tend to rewatch older movies and shows.
When it comes to books, I just read Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, and am currently reading On Love by Alain de Botton.
If Holland in winter were a YouTube video:
(every ice-skaters dream)
If Holland in winter were an emoji
If Holland in winter were a colour:
If Holland in winter were a song:
‘Seabird’ by the Alessi Brothers. It's my all-time favorite song—whether it’s winter, summer, or the seasons in between.
Features Editor: Madeleine Woon