Matlas, The Mullet Atlas

There are few things as emblematic of The Hague as the mullet. Whether balding, curly, straight, gelled or matt, the mullet is a piece of The Hague’s heritage, its folklore and its traditions. It symbolizes a healthy dose of resistance to imposed norms in a world of endless, dull conformity.

The mullet is a striking hairstyle, short on the top and sides and luxuriously long at the back. It has been worn in all parts of The Hague for decades, but is especially popular in Duindorp, Laakkwartier, Moerwijk and Scheveningen. Designer Joost Nijhuis (1980) and photographers Daniël Heikens (1980) and Rein Langeveld (1979) have mapped the phenomenon in the Mullet Atlas, filled with portraits, maps, pictograms and statistics.

Sporting a mullet is a choice, but not always a conscious one. Some people have had the hairstyle since childhood, and it has simply come to define who they are. The mullet underlines their deep love for the city of The Hague and is an essential part of their identity. Although people’s motives vary widely, those who choose the mullet seem to share a rejection of the prevailing bourgeois morality.

Although in the Netherlands, the mullet is mostly seen in The Hague, it is also encountered in Belgium, the UK, Spain, Iran and other countries. In Australia, there is even an annual Mullet Festival. Heikens, Langeveld and Nijhuis have plans to document this international phenomenon in a future World Mullet Atlas. The Mullet Atlas shows that the mullet is not so much making a comeback; it never really went away.

  • The Matlas at Op1

    Monday 31 May we will be a guest at Op1

    We present our book the Matlas of The Hague on Monday, May 31, 2021 at 10:20 PM on Op1 of the public channel NPO1.