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Dutch tattoo ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

Though the Netherlands is a small country, it is associated with many symbols that capture its unique character, culture and history. Tattoo enthusiasts who like Holland or are of Dutch descent can use such symbols as inspiration for tattoos, decorating their bodies with iconic imagery to celebrate their love of the Netherlands.

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Windmill

The windmill is a true icon of the Netherlands and has been harnessing the strength of nature to provide power to the tiny nation for hundreds of years. A traditional wooden windmill can also serve as inspiration for a tattoo and can be inked in great detail or simply drawn in the form of a silhouette. If going for an ornate, full-colour windmill tattoo, considering adding a background in the form of the sky and sun or colourful flowers around the base.

Bicycle

Residents of the Netherlands are voracious bicyclists, riding their two-wheeled friends to school, work, shops and everywhere else they go, making bikes an important part of Dutch culture. Fellow bicycle-lovers can immortalise cycling with a tattoo of a bike, like a traditional Dutch Omafiets. Meaning "grandmother bicycle," the omafiets is a classic of Dutch design and noted for its unique step-through frame, making it easily identifiable as a tattoo.

Tulips

Tulips have been grown and sold in the Netherlands for hundreds of years and even sparked a buying frenzy in the 17th century when the flowers were all the rage in Europe. Today, tulips are still popular in Holland, and the country is home to the world's largest flower garden, Keukenhof, where millions of the colourful blossoms are grown each year. A tulip tattoo can be as simple as a chain of flowers wrapped around an arm or a detailed drawing of a blooming flower, allowing for various colours and shading.

XXX

Amsterdam's coat of arms features a shield emblazoned with three X shapes, which are St. Andrew's crosses, and topped with the imperial crown of Austria, according to the city's website. Two lions guard the shield on either side, and the entire logo, the shield or just the three crosses can be used for an elaborate or simple tattoo as desired. The shield's origins are mysterious, but the crosses are seen throughout the Dutch capital, a common symbol of the city.

Clogs

Clogs, simple shoes made from wood, have long been associated with Holland even though the Dutch rarely wear them in the modern age, though they are still used for gardening and housework. Most clogs have an upturned tip, and many are decorated with paintings of other Dutch symbols, like tulips, for sale to tourists. Souvenirs of Holland are also commonly decorated with pictures of clogs or made to resemble them, and they can also be used as a kitschy tattoo idea.

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About the Author

Hallie Engel is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in several international publications. She served as a restaurant critic for "Time Out Abu Dhabi" and "Time Out Amsterdam" and has also written about food culture in the United Arab Emirates for "M Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and film studies from University of Amsterdam.

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