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Miffy – The beloved bunny

Last updated 5 days ago by Michael Darmanin

Ever wondered how this little rabbit became the quintessential part of the Dutch household? Recognized as “Nijntje” (short version of Konijntje) in the Netherlands, “Le petit lapin” in French, but for the entire world; she is “Miffy”. The Dutch cartoon character is lot more than you think.

Even at the age of 65, she is ruling our hearts

Miffy celebrated her birthday on 21st June, 2020. Dutch artist Dick Bruna created her in 1955. Known for her positive approach to life-events, the lively bunny is best suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers. The bunny is so famous that you can visit Miffy cafe in Japan and even Miffy metro train in China.

Royal Dutch Mint commemorates her birthday by issuing a Miffy coin. Photo Credits: Krutika Hirani

Birth of Iconic Rabbit

The cute little bunny. Photo Credits:By Screen capture from www.nijntje.nl, Fair use

Before he went to sleep, I told him a little story about a rabbit we saw run around the beach house we rented

Dick Bruna

Dick Bruna went on a summer holiday with his family at Egmond aan Zee in 1955. He used to tell bedtime story of white little rabbit to his eldest son, Sierk. This was how Nijntje (the rabbit) came into existence. Dick Bruna illustrated her in the simplest manner with clean black lines, basic shapes and uncomplicated designs. De Stijl movement and Henri Matisse’s painting ‘The Sheaf’ inspired Bruna for his color palette. The Bruna color theme included red, yellow, blue, white, green, black, grey and certain tones of orange and brown. The clear depiction made her instant favourite. The book Miffy at the Gallery beautifully shows the love of Dick Bruna for his favourite painters.

Dick Bruna in his studio. Photo Credits: By Dolph Kohnstamm – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The first book released in 1955 was titled “nijntje”. The book is like a Pictogram – speaking their own language. Miffy books are available in more than 50 languages. The book contains verses which makes it an enduring read for children. He believed in strength of simplicity.

Royal Delft pottery with handpainted Miffy. Photo Credits: Krutika Hirani

Utrecht: Home to Dick Bruna and Miffy

Dick Bruna shares a special connection with Utrecht. The creator of the bunny girl was born on 23 August, 1927 in Utrecht. Over the span of years, he lived and worked at his birthplace. He began creating book covers, picture books, designed posters and logos for City of Utrecht, UNICEF, Het Groene Kruis (a maternity care organisation) and many more. He renowned with his book cover designs for the Black Bear pocket editions.

For me happiness is cycling to my studio very early in the morning.

Dick Bruna

He enjoyed cycling through Utrecht. He was awarded with Lapel Pin of Utrecht for “raising the city to new heights with his illustrious imagination” and also with special Golden Lapel Pin of the city of Utrecht in 2007.For the text in “dear grandma bunny“, he won Silver Slate Award. It dealt with the most difficult part of life – death. He died on 16 February, 2017.

Miffy has her own museum since 2016 (founded in 2006, it was known as Dick Bruna House previously). Museum is a great place to hangout for families with kids.

Global Icon

Miffy is a mascot for Children in Museum Awards since 2011. The award is presented to museums which demonstrate creative collections for children. The winner receives a bronze replica of Miffy statue in Utrecht. On her 60th birthday, she helped promote Le Grand Depart of the 2015 Tour de France which was held in Utrecht. Miffy is an ambassador of Netherlands Sickle Cells Fund. Miffy Art Parade that ran through Netherlands raised more than €500,000 for UNICEF.

“Nijntje Pleintje” (Miffy Square) is a square named after the rabbit. There stands a Miffy statue made by Marc Bruna, youngest son of Dick Bruna.

Miffy Statue at Miffy Square. Photo credits: By Deelnemer8, CC BY-SA 3.0

The city of Utrecht honors Dick Bruna’s work with the wonderful Miffy traffic lights.

My Quest with Miffy

As a child, once I was flipping the cartoon channels. Suddenly, the little bunny caught my attention. What drew me to watch it were the bright colors and little stories which had a little message at the end of each episode. In no time, it became my favourite. I used to watch it with my Nanaji (maternal grandfather). We two were fans of Miffy. Every now and then I used to sing the jingle of Miffy. As the years passed, it was a forgotten affair.

Oh so adorable, Miffy. Photo credits: Kishan Hirani

Destiny brought me to Netherlands. To my surprise, every souvenir shop has this little rabbit. To be precise, everywhere! From clothing, fluffy plush toys, magnets and other merchandise. De Winkel van Nijntje sells all things related to her. I quickly came to realize that it is the same old Miffy which I adored in my childhood. It was something like I found my long lost friend. The greatest irony is today I am writing about Miffy by being in her own native country and that too for Utrecht (her hometown) Central.

Grab a copy of Miffy’s classic book collection in the world of Peppa Pig. It can be the first introduction book to children for reading. Miffy has its own youtube channel. Watch it with your young ones and you too will be hooked to the famous lines:

Miffy, the sweet little bunny
Miffy, the smart little bunny
Miffy, a cute little bunny!

Krutika Hirani
Krutika Hirani
Born and raised in India, I am Electronics & Communication Engineer. New Technologies, Travelling, Reading, Dancing, Relishing Different Culture and Making Delicious Meals are the things that fascinate me the most. Caught by Wanderlust bug, I would describe myself as a "Flaneur" I am passionately curious about exploring new horizons. Dance keeps my creative flare intact. Reading and Travelling helps me to narrate tales that motivate. Having a Papyrophilia, I love to hoard stationeries. I am here, to make a difference through my writings, share ideas and hope to inspire. I live by this quote:"Pen is mightier than Sword."

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