NHV Hat Contest 2022

Theme: 'Vintage with a twist'!


Welcome to the 17th edition of the International NHV Hat Competition 'Vintage with a twist'!

For the 2022 competition, we have been inspired by hats between the years 1940 and 1969. The assignment is to make a hat or headpiece (for ladies or gentlemen) in any style deriving from these years, but using your own input. So not a copy, but a design with a clear personal vision! The challenge is to use the shapes, materials and techniques from that period and give it your own "twist".

Competition participants will receive a "surprise package" of vintage materials, provided by Plooij Hats & Materials. The package will contain: a piece of "straw cloth" of 1 x 1 m (or 0.75 x 1.40 m), a number of meters of crionline braid or Racello and 3 metres of veiling or coarse net-tulle. These were well known hat materials in the 1950s and 1960s, but later fell into disuse. Since many materials from the chosen period are no longer available, modern foundation materials may be used (think of Fosshape instead of sparterie), provided they are not visible. The materials supplied may be painted or processed otherwise. Further materials may be added for decoration or garnish, under two conditions: the material from the competition package must play the main role and the added materials must have already existed in the chosen era: 1940 - 1969. (No sinamay for example). Not all the material sent has to be used.

The entry fee for the contest includes the purchase and shipping costs of the materials. It is not possible to choose which selection of materials you receive!

Click here to download the poster!

Hat Show and Exhibition

The Hat Competition took place at Modehuis Van Tilburg Nistelrode on June 11th, 2022. The winners are known!


The 1st place goes to Isabelle Soetaerts with her entry "Madame Paulette"

2nd place is for Suzanne Jonker with her entry "Gevangen in de Tijd"

And te 3rd place is for the entry "Edgy Trilby" created by Judith Lehthaus.


All competition hats will be exhibited for three weeks after the competition day at Modehuis van Tilburg in Nistelrode. Voting is possible both physically and online. Physically (votes count double) at Modehuis van Tilburg and online via Facebook. All entries for this year can be found in the photo gallery 2022


This year's jury members are: Elisabeth de Meulmeester (Chairwoman of the Jury), Thea van der Helm (owner of a hat shop in The Hague), Dennis Plooij (supplier of the competition materials) and Leah Kooistra (student).


Elisabeth de Meulmeester

Elisabeth was born in 1956. From an early age her interests were in the creative field and hats run through her life like a thread. She has early memories of her grandmothers and aunts, all hat wearers. She started making hat creations from all kinds of leftover fabric and when she had children, making clothes for them was a given.

In addition to her work in various functions in the health care industry, she took art courses such as wet-on-wet painting, clay modelling and an orientation course in art therapy. Her hats fell somewhat into the background during those years, but when she felt the need to present herself more self-confidently to the outside world after her divorce, she became a convinced hat wearer and maker. But she was still self-taught.

Building on her basic textile skills, Elisabeth took several courses, with among others, Dion Meuleman and Marianne Jongkind. In the mid-nineties she organised her first hat show in Arnhem and also won several prizes at hat competitions. In 2008 she opened a hat store in Arnhem's Fashion Neighbourhood. After running the store for five years with great passion and love for hats she stopped in 2013 continuing studio work from home again. Making hats, modelling colourful and appealing shapes from various sources and residual materials, remains her greatest inspiration.

Elisabeth is looking forward, with great anticipation, to the creations submitted for the 2022 competition!

Thea van der Helm

Throughout the years, hat designer Thea van der Helm has seen all kinds of materials and trends in the field of hats. At the age of 16 she became an apprentice at a hat studio in her then-home town of Heerlen (The Netherlands). From there, during the 60s, after a few years working at various hat and cap factories, she ended up at the studio of hat shop Ladies Paradise in De Passage in The Hague. In the early 80s, she became the owner of this shop, where, at that time, part of the collection was still made in-house. Because of its location, just around the corner from the Binnenhof and Paleis Noordeinde*,

Ladies Paradise had many politicians and their partners coming to buy hats for Prinsjesdag**, along with many international hat-lovers (from as far away as South Africa) as customers.

Besides running Ladies Paradise, Thea also taught classes in hat making at a fashion school in The Hague for some time in the 80s and 90s.


* The Binnenhof is s a complex of buildings in the The Hague, which has been the centre of Dutch politics for centuries. Paleis Noordeinde is a royal palace in The Hague, located at Noordeinde. It is the working palace of King Willem-Alexander.

** In the Netherlands, Budget Day is known as Prinsjesdag or ‘Prince’s Day’. On this day, many women who attend the King's speech wear striking hats, known in the media as the hat parade. - Ed.

Dennis Plooij

Dennis Plooij (1976) is the son of Henk and Conny Plooij, founders of the company HP Tex. Henk and Connie exported second hand hats to Indonesia. As coincidence may have it, they were able to buy up a batch of sinamay and crinoline kicking off the company’s expansion to become a hat materials supplier.

As a child, Dennis was always present in his parents' business, yet, after training in retail, he opted for the transport sector. He worked in various positions within air freight going on to freight sales by air and sea. This then led to a position as a planner, in air, sea and road transport. As a hobby and during vacations, Dennis worked with horses and wedding carriages, which is why he still feels connected to equestrian sports.

Around his 33rd birthday "the trade industry started calling him" and he, in consultation with his parents, joined their business. In the beginning, together with them. In 2014 Dennis took over the business completely and changed the name to Plooij Hats & Materials. What his parents had set up with their commercial spirit and creativity, Dennis expanded. And with the help and support of his wife Vanessa and daughter Amy, the company has now grown into an international supplier of hat materials.

Leah Kooistra

A short bio about me! I am Leah Kooistra. I'm 23 years old and after a few fruitless between-years, I started the Design and Craftsmanship course at the Sint Lucas Technical College in 2020. I chose Textiles as my study direction and I am now in my second year.

In the first year, the Textile students participated in the Prinsjes Hatwalk* in The Hague. I won the first prize with my hat inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. This was very motivating for my second year at school of course! Besides school, I work in a cinema (I suspect it's haunted) and I go on adventures with my friends!

* The Prinsjes Hatwalk is an annual hat event in The Hague which includes, among many other attractions, a hat competition and fashion show.


The winner will, of course, receive the silver NHV hatpin. In addition, we proudly offer the following prizes:


1st prize

A voucher worth € 500 from Plooij Hats & Materials and a voucher worth € 350 from The Trimming Company.


2nd prize

A voucher worth € 400 from De Vroey.


3rd prize

A voucher worth £ (GBP) 200 from Guy Morse-Brown.


Please take note: If these vouchers are used, the shipping costs and/or import duties on materials sent to you from abroad will be borne by the winners. Neither the companies that provide the prizes, nor the NHV, are responsible for these costs.


People’s Choice Award

The audience award is determined by the number of votes that the entries receive. Voting can be done on Facebook. This is possible until 2 June.

Which entry do you think is the best? Let your voice be heard!

View Previous Submissions

Curious to see the creations of past participants? Have a look at all previous entries in the photo gallery