Station: [19] Architectural Tradition: Dutch Tiles

M: They’re like a picture book for the living room wall: the Dutch tiles the seafarers from Föhr brought home with them year after year when they returned to the island in autumn. Known as “Delft tiles”, they were very popular on Föhr, like everything else from the Netherlands.

F: The tiled walls in the houses on Föhr weren’t just a pretty sight, they were also practical. Exterior walls weren’t plastered, so they offered good protection against the damp.

M: There were many different patterns. Whether you preferred children at play, landscapes, pets, stylized vases or floral ornaments was entirely a matter of personal taste. The tiles with biblical motifs are especially elaborately designed. Have you discovered Moses with the tablets of law yet? Or Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark or the Resurrection? Nobody seems to have minded that designs crop up twice, or that the Old and New Testaments are randomly mixed up.

F: The oldest tiles – in the display case in the window – are actually decorated in several colours. But when Chinese porcelain arrived in Europe in the early 17th century, people took their cue from its simple style and switched to monochrome decoration.

M: We’ve now come to the end of our tour here in the museum building. But if you go outside into our museum garden, you’ll find some more highlights of Föhr’s history of in store for you. There’s the oldest house on the island, a post mill, an original barn and much more. You’ll even come across the Dutch tiles again. So: see you in the garden!

Fotos: © Dr.-Carl-Häberlin-Friesen-Museum