Fishing sweater from the historical fishing community of Arnemuiden creates awareness for cultural heritage and the role of the fishing women .
The fishing industry is facing significant changes and challenges. Policy responses to reduce the fish stocks impact on communities that depend upon fishing, with social and economic consequences. The small fishery community of Arnemuiden is in decline.
Middelburg works on the local identity of Arnemuiden and especially the local distinctiveness of being a unique fishing place with a long tradition. Therefore a female think tank was installed. Several meetings have been held to address different activities and stimulate the participation of the inhabitants. The think tank consist of 12 women all with a different social background in the community. What they all have in common is that they are proud of Arnemuiden and the local identity. The inhabitants and in particular the young people appreciate the cultural heritage trough the sweaters even greater. One of the members of the think tank was responsible for the production of the sweater project with traditional fishermen patterns. The community was strongly involved in promoting and marketing the rediscovery of historical fishery sweaters as modern street wear.
The sweaters are produced in fashionable colours in small production. You can buy the sweaters in a local handicraft shop, in a few fishery museums and online. The online sale is a success. The knitting patterns are not only used for the sweaters, but also for e.g. quilts in the knitting books, traditional scarfs, and handicraft packets etc.
The sweater pr

Resources needed

It was hard to find financial sources to bring the sweaters into production, but the sweater project was entirely financed by private funding. The risk for a small, local entrepreneur (who is not a manufacturer) is high, because the small scale production

Evidence of success

The Arnemuiden Fishery Sweater has become a brand. A lot of publicity has been generated in regional, national and international newspapers and glossy magazines. The project was the start for the Zeeland fishery sweater foundation. A book has been published with patterns of all fishery sweaters in the 14 fishery communities in Zeeland. The book was immediately sold out. The project has been followed up ( copied) in several other fishing places in the Netherlands.

Difficulties encountered

Challenges were:
* finding financial sources for the production of the sweaters
* make it sustainable
* translate the added value/benefits to the village to give a boost to the viability of the village
lesson learned:A solid business case is vital to make the project sustainable

Potential for learning or transfer

The project has been transferred to France and the South of the UK. Due to the blog and website a lot of fishing communities were inspired by the initiative in Arnemuiden.
The CHERISH partnership see potential for transfer if the project can make a bigger economic and social impact, through:
1) Wider services, combining the story of the sweaters with a sightseeing tour , boat trip, fish meal. This approach helps to show more of the traditions, the history and contributes to promotion and sales of the Fishery Sweaters.
2) Offer the Sweaters in different qualities as an exclusive product produced by handcrafts women with the authentic feeling of local traditions or in an affordable quality for a bigger public, produced in a factory.
3) Tell the story of traditional craft, the fishery sweaters by young people, image making by telling the story in a new way by using new marketing tools
4) Make more publicity outside the Netherlands

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Main institution
gemeente Middelburg
Zeeland, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
June 2012
End Date


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