The International Playing-Card Society

IPCS Home Page | IPCS Publications Page | Index of Pattern Sheets on the web


Suit System:F
Recommended Name:  Dutch pattern (or Modern Netherland pattern).

Formerly labelled F-1.5331 and XP2 (XP for eXpatriate Paris). In 19th century Turnhout, the pattern was usually called either "Cartes Royales" or "Cartes Impériales", but so were other quite different patterns.


The history of this pattern is not so simple as it may appear. It was never produced in the Netherlands, nor was it associated specifically with the Netherlands when the pattern first began to appear in Turnhout. It appears to have been adopted in the Netherlands after the collapse of the indigenous card-maker in 1969 – alongside other standard patterns such as the North-German pattern [IPCS #59] and the Dondorf Rhineland pattern [IPCS #74] and variants of it. The feature that differentiates it from its parent pattern [IPCS #75] is the distinctive set of Queens lacking almost all traces of their traditional flowers.

In Playing-Card World No.29, it was suggested that the final pattern emerged from a design of c.1904 called "Cartes Royales 0.32" by Brepols & Dierckx Zoon which had slightly different Queens and scenic backgrounds to the courts, rather reminiscent of Daveluy’s luxury "Moyen Age" designs (cf. Fournier #15). In fact, in addition to Van Genechten’s standard version of the ‘Dutch’ pattern, which he called "Impériales", he also made a ‘luxury’ version with similar scenic backgrounds called "Impériales chromo A" with a wrapper that bore the contradictory name "Cartes Royales".

Brepols & Dierckx Zoon made a version of this standard pattern on smaller cards (85×50mm) with scenic aces of Belgium, under the name "Cartes Flamandes" (see Turnhoutse Speelkaarten #21).

Mesmaekers’ extant sample books do not include this pattern, perhaps because they had inherited another ‘luxury’ design from Daveluy and continued it as a house-pattern (formerly known as F-1.62), under the name "Impériales". However Fournier #21 purports to be by Mesmaekers, 1860

Characteristic features

Usual XP format (i.e. with a horizontal dividing line). Although it is the four Kings that carry the features of the pattern that distinguish it from most other XP patterns, only the Queens differentiate it from its (Germanic) parent [IPCS #75]. QH has a bird perched on one hand; QS holds up a small feather fan; QD gazes into a small locket; QC holds a flower. All the Queens wear crowns. Once again KH holds an orb and a large sceptre with an ornate top, while KC wears a crenellated crown and holds the top of an angular shield. In a variant made by OTK of Prague, still with Dutch scenic aces, KC wears a normal open crown instead of his usual crenellated one.


King, Queen, Jack and numerals; usually 52 cards. Nowadays usually with scenic aces of the Netherlands.

Illustrations in the literature

Turnhoutse Speelkaarten #18 (Van Genechten, c.1895), #19 (Brepols & Dierckx Zoon, c.1890), #20 (Biermans, c.1900), #21 ("Cartes Flamandes", Brepols & Dierckx Zoon, 1903), #22 (La Turnhoutoise, n.d.), #23-25. All Cards on the Table #155. Cary BEL 27 (Biermans, c.1890). Fournier #21, #62, #140. De Geschiedenis van de Speelkaart by Han Janssen, pp.146-149 includes several examples, including the OTK variant KC.

Dutch Pattern

Illustration of Dutch pattern (jpg 953 x 1120)
Top three rows: Biermans, with scenic aces of Paris.
Bottom three rows: version with scenic backgrounds, and scenic aces of Belgium,
by van Genechten, boxed as "Cartes Royales".
(Both from the collection of John Berry.)

The International Playing-Card Society 8/2002 JB

For comments please contact the Pattern Sheet Editor: Kay Stolzenburg (

IPCS Home Page | IPCS Publications Page | Index of Pattern Sheets on the web

This page is maintained by John McLeod ( and Kay Stolzenburg(
Last updated 9th September 2010