Bye bye daddy Miffy

Late Thursday the 16th of February, the beloved Dutch artist Dick Bruna, passed away in his sleep at the age of 89. Generations of Dutch children grew up with his timeless children’s books featuring his brainchild, Miffy (Nijntje in Dutch). To pay a tribute to Dick Bruna and Miffy the JoCo visited the Nijntje museum.

Dick Bruna and Utrecht

When you say Dick Bruna, you say Miffy, and when you say Miffy you say Utrecht. The artist, the little rabbit and the city are inextricably bound up with each other. For forty years Dick Bruna cycled through the city centre of Utrecht on his way to his design studio at the attic room at the Centraal Museum. The mayor of Utrecht also responded to the passing of Bruna: ‘’Utrecht is going to miss Bruna enormously. Utrecht owes Bruna a great many thanks, he meant a great deal to the city and far beyond. Utrecht loses a great ambassador’’, according to Jan van Zanen.

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Flowers, cards and candles at the Nijntje Pleintje (Little Miffy Square) from concerned Utrecht citizens.

The power of simplicity

In 1955 Dick Bruna wrote and illustrated the first Miffy book. Miffy was created after Bruna had been telling stories to his one-year-old son, Sierk, about a little rabbit they’d seen earlier in the dunes. The power of Miffy is its simplicity which makes the drawings attractive to small children. Bruna’s style can be recognized everywhere by its graphic style, with minimalist black graphic lines. The bright and intense simplistic colours used by Bruna make the books very popular with small children. The books are printed in a small format and on thick paper, which makes them suitable for small children’s hands. Because, like Bruna explained, the Miffy books are made for children and not for their parents.

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Dick Bruna at work in the Nijntje Museum

The Nijntje Museum

In 2006 the Dick Bruna house opened in Utrecht, where a lot of Bruna’s work was exposed. In 2016 the museum reopened as the Nijntje Museum, in this way tourists from all over the world could find the museum more easily. The museum is especially suited for Bruna’s smallest fans, the children for who he wrote the books. Still, the museum is also interesting for his larger fans. The museum is beautifully furnished in the style of Bruna and his art decorates the walls.

We believe Bruna’s love for children will live on through his work and we are proud that he lived his life in Utrecht.

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