On Prinsjesdag (20 September), Minister Jet Bussemaker will be wearing a creation designed by Robby Duiveman, director of the Costume, Wigs and Make-up department at Dutch National Opera & Ballet. Duiveman took inspiration for his creation from the labels sewn into costumes. The labels show the whole Dutch National Opera & Ballet season. The red labels show which singer wears a particular costume and the black labels which dancer. The labels are incorporated into the ensemble, and the hat is created with labels as well. The special accessories are a fan-shaped bag and necklace that incorporate dancing and singing figures.

The ensemble was made by students of the Master Cutter course, under the supervision of the specialists of Dutch National Opera & Ballet’s Costume department. By wearing this outfit, Minister Bussemaker wants to draw attention to the specialists and craftsmen behind the scenes at the opera and ballet performances at Dutch National Opera & Ballet. All the costumes, sets and props for these performances are made in the theatre’s own workshops.

Minister Bussemaker is very enthusiastic about the result: “Most people have no idea what goes on behind the scenes of an opera or dance performance. We have fantastic craftsmen in our country, who are often hidden in the wings. By wearing this outfit today, I will turn the spotlights on these talented craftsmen”.


The Master Cutter course, set up partly by Dutch National Opera & Ballet, trains a new generation of master cutters, who can start their career at the highest level. The course aims to maintain and develop the craft of master cutters and to prevent the disappearance of age-old knowledge. After the three-year, full-time course, students can start their career at the highest level in the ateliers of theatre companies or with couturiers, or work as an independent cutter. A master cutter has the knowledge and craftsmanship to be able to start their career anywhere in the world. After five years, the school now has 350 students.

Bussemaker: ‘Discovery and growth do not stop on obtaining your college certificate, and that is demonstrated by the students of the Master Cutter course. Talented individuals are trained to become masters of their trade – just like the singers and dancers of Dutch National Opera & Ballet”.

Photo: Robby Duiveman and Jet Bussemaker (Altin Kaftira)