Friday, June 30, 2017


This amusing short video (berets included) is part of the "Atheist Shoes" campaign; Berlin made shoes from artisan and atheist shoemakers!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Red van Riet by mOOniQ

These sculptures depict Red van Riet, language teacher and lover of literature, shaped in clay by Dutch sculptor Mooniq Priem.
Red was known for always wearing his scarf and 'alpinopet' (Dutch for 'beret'). To me personally, he exemplifies the older boinero as I remember from my childhood, growing up in the Netherlands: small diameter beret, short beard, an artistic laissez-faire look about him...
Interestingly, when Mooniq wrote back to me, a couple of days ago, she noticed a picture coming by on her Spotify account of another boinero: Australian singer-song writer Ry Cuming aka RY X. Ah, these coincedences... Made my day!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Pipe-smokers have often featured on The Beret Project; pipes and berets being such a natural combination. It's not just the wearers of the beret that smoke a pipe,  there are actually many pipes that resemble the pipe smoker.
The pictures above and below show a pipe used in the Great War (1914-18), depicting a Chasseur Alpin.
Below a briar pipe depicting a member of the French Paratroopers, typically wearing the small diameter military beret in red. 
And above and below a good Basque beret in a briar pipe, beard and all. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On Mount Ganekogarta, 1925 and 2012


From the September issue of German magazine Die Zeit:
"On the left picture it shows my father on the top of the 998 meter high Ganekogorta near Bilbao. It would have been 1925. My father had emigrated to Spain shortly after the First World War, where he met my mother, married and worked in the family-owned printing company. 
Although he was a native Bavarian, he soon carried a Basque beret, which can also be seen in the photo.
I climbed the same Ganekogarta in 2012 (right photo)".

Monday, June 26, 2017

Holidays in the Basque Country

A collection of early 20th century posters by the French Railways, advertising a holiday in the (French) Basque Country. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Benjamin Patterson

Benjamin "Ben" Patterson (1934 –2016) was an American musician, artist, and one of the founders of the Fluxus movement.
Benjamin Patterson was born in Pittsburgh. He attended the University of Michigan from 1952 to 1956, where he studied the contrabass, Composition, and Film Direction. As an African American musician, it was impossible for him to get a job at a symphony orchestra in the United States, so he started out playing with Canadian orchestras.

After quitting artistic activity, he continued his career in art. He worked as general manager in the Symphony of the New World, as Assistant Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City, as director of development for the Negro Ensemble Company and as National Director for Pro Musica Foundation Inc..

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Vulture is the name given to two groups of scavenging birds of prey: the New World vultures, including the Californian and Andean condors, and the Old World vultures, including the birds that are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains. 
Some traditional Old World vultures (including the bearded vulture) are not closely related to the others, which is why the vultures are to be subdivided into three taxa rather than two. 
New World vultures are found in North and South America; Old World vultures are found in Europe, Africa, and Asia, meaning that between the two groups, vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of normal feathers, hence their liking of wearing Basque berets.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Andorra, officially the Principality of Andorra (Catalan: Principat d'Andorra), also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, is a sovereign landlocked microstate in Southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France.

Created under a charter in 988, the present principality was formed in 1278. It is known as a principality as it is a monarchy headed by two Co-Princes – the Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain, and the President of France.

Andorra is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe, having an area of 468 km2 (181 sq mi) and a population of approximately 85,000. Its capital Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1,023 metres (3,356 ft) above sea level. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.
Andorra's tourism services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually. It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the official currency. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993. In 2013, the people of Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years, according to The Lancet.
Not many berets in this Catalan speaking country, but they are (were) present!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Subdudes

The Subdudes (stylized as The subdudes) are an American roots rock group from New Orleans. 
Their music blends folk, swamp pop, New Orleans rhythm and blues, Louisiana blues, country, cajun/zydeco, funk, soul and gospel with harmonic vocals.
Their sound is notable for the band's substitution of a tambourine player for a drummer. The subdudes formed in 1987 through a music venue in New Orleans called Tipitinas.
Thanks Paul

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Pilgrim to Mont-Saint-Michel

This fantastic picture was sent to me by a visitor of The Beret Project: Pierre Degl Innocenti: 
I'll quote Pierre:  "Last year, between August 7th and 11th, I went to Normandy to go hiking with friends. We traveled approximately 100 kilometers to go from Vire to Mont-Saint-Michel. It is the ancient path of the pilgrims. We crossed the bay on foot, without shoes, with a guide to avoid marshes, water holes, and shifting sands. Only 7 or 8 kilometers, but these were the last and my legs were aching. The only thing that relieved me (and made my so-called friends laugh) was to kneel down. I had become a true pilgrim, humbly going to God ... and to the liter of beer I dreamed of at the end of the adventure."
Thanks Pierre

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Red Txapelas of the Basque and Navarre's Police

This colourful map, titled Police Map of Navarra, shows the distribution of the various law enforcement agencies in the province of Navarra. There are four different agencies, among which the Guardia Civil with their (in)famous tricornos, but more interesting for us boineros are the berets worn by the Policía foral de Navarra (in Basque the Foruzaingoa) and the National Police (or El Cuerpo Nacional de Policía - CNP).
Where the CNP wear a very “middle of the road” military style beret, the Foruzaingoa adopted the beautiful bright red taxepla (similar to the Basque Regional Police and the Police of Bilbao Municipality).
All three have their distinctive insignia woven into the txapela. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Beards and (Military) Berets

Beards and Berets (with or without pipe) is a natural combination, but servicemen with beret and beard... A very rare occasion.
Somehow, the military (of most Western countries at least), collectively suffers from pogonophobia (the phobic fear of beards).
Typical exceptions were made for personnel of submarines (daily shaving in the confined space of a submarine is no sinecure), chaplains and... Chasseurs Alpins/Ardennais.
The fact that these regiments get away with wearing Basque berets (versus the military "naked" style beret) reflects a more humane attitude towards facial hair too. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Black Beret / Boina negra; a poem

Black, beret
Castilian, Aragonese, Andalusian,
Galician, Basque, Extremadura and Murcia.

Black beret, full of wisdom,
Canary Islands, Melilla, Valencia, the
Balearic Islands, Ceuta or Catalan.

Black beret sitting
on a stone slab seeing the Sea,
in the snow at the foot of the mountains,
in the park of any city,
in the silence of any house.

Black beret,
mute cries and forgotten words;
of vessels are broken to shed illusions;
of eagerness to explain calmly
clarity, past the murky waters
of the river, before arriving at the bar.
Boina negra,
castellana, aragonesa, andaluza,
gallega, vasca, extremeña o murciana.

Boina Negra, llena de sabiduría,
canaria, de Melilla, valenciana,
balear, ceutí o catalana.

Boina negra sentada
en una losa de piedra viendo al Mar,
en la nieve al pie de las montañas,
en el parque de cualquier ciudad,
en el silencio de cualquier casa.

Boina Negra,
de gritos mudos y palabras olvidadas;
de vasijas rotas con ilusiones derramadas;
de ansias por poder explicar con calma
la claridad, pasadas las turbias aguas
del río, antes de llegar a la barra.

por/by Balueiro

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Gaucho chileno, XI Región de Aisén

A very poor quality video of only 17 seconds, but the poetry of this Chilean gaucho is well worth listening to (it sounds lovely, even when you don't understand Spanish).
Free translation: 
There is no fence that can stop destiny 
Life is like time, it gallops without ease e. 
The years are piling on us... 
And the last sentence I could not quite decipher...
Thanks Ariel

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Shutters of Hôtel de France in Arudy

The day before meeting the people at Boneteria Auloronesa in Oloron Sainte Marie last May, I spent the night in Arudy, a small town close by, where I found the Hôtel de France.
Big surprise: even the knobs of the window shutters are fitted with a beret! That's what I call dedication to tradition. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Murals in the Basque Country

Walking around the cities of the Spanish Basque Country, it is impossible not to notice how many murals there are (and how little graffiti!).
Many have to do with the Basque struggle for independence or to get ETA prisoners closer to home (instead of the added punishment to keep these prisoners on the Canary Islands and other remote places).  
Others are simply an expression of feelings, portraying idols or bands, cartoons, etc.Whatever the subjects, many depict a beret!
I personally was much taken by this mural I found in Tolosa; the Ugly Duckling going his own way, not following the dictator like all the other ducklings. Naturally, the Ugly Duckling wears a beret!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sombrerería Gorostiaga from Bilbao

One of the oldest hat shops continuously in operation since its beginnings is Sombrerería Gorostiaga in Bilbao. It was the year 1854 when the merchant Fructuoso Gorostiaga opened his shop in the calle Bidebarrieta. Years later he would move to Calle del Victor and has been there ever since, making custom hats and txapelas.
These days, the great-grandsons of the then master hat-maker are still behind the counter of the millinery.
Throughout all these years, Sombrerería Gorostiaga has witnessed the numerous social changes that have occurred and that have influenced the way of dressing.
The golden age of business and hat miller activity was in the first decades of the twentieth century, when hats were much more than an accessory and a marked symbol of elegance. The 50s would be a great change and the type of hat became an element of differentiation of the social classes.
Emilio Pirla is now the fourth generation of the family that runs the establishment. Its activity is dedicated to the preparation and sale of custom hats, often reproductions of period pieces, headdresses and txapelas.
Emilio Pirla is a specialist in the field and the last of the hatters remaining in the north of Spain. He does not let go of his hat or txapela any day of the year, is an enthusiast of this garment and always likes to explain everything in detail, but with him, the business will disappear.
Among the clientele of Gorostiaga Sombrerería are today’s artists like Loquillo, Fito or Álex Angulo. Today the production focuses on a very high percentage in txapelas and to a lesser extent reproductions of vintage hats, , hats for ladies or hats that by circumstances are fashionable at certain times, in the style of films or TV series.