We meet at the central station in Amsterdam, the city where lives again. Paul Rem (1962) is an art historian and curator of Paleis Het Loo. A man with his own clothing style, always impeccably dressed. The special shirt with a generous bow and the flower in his buttonhole are immediately visible. Paul: “Every day I wear a flower or a pocket square. The flower I use is not always a freshly picked one, but since I know that the Prince of Wales also sometimes wears an artificial flower, I do not feel burdened. I often get cheerful comments about it. ”
In addition to his work as a curator, Paul is also the spokesman for Paleis Het Loo. And because of his knowledge about palaces and everything that has to do with Royal Houses, he is also a welcome guest at radio and TV programs, such as Blauw Bloed. “As a child, I was already very interested in palaces, and for my graduation, I chose the renovation of Soestdijk Palace as a subject. I am not only interested in the architecture of palaces, but also in everything that goes with it, such as furniture, clothing, and jewelry. In Paleis Het Loo you’ll find more than 4000 pieces and each piece has its own story.”
“As a child, I liked to wear a tie, which was customary at that time. As far as clothing is concerned, I have always made my own choices, even as a teenager. It’s not about pretending to be different, it’s me. I always wear a suit, not only for my work but also at home. I do not have a sweater at all. Just like my dad, I love headgear, and I got my first hat from him. When I was 16, he bought me a fez during our holiday in Yugoslavia. Since then I always wear a fez when I’m at home. Coat off, my fez on.”
“Everybody thinks that looking good costs a lot of money. People do not expect that someone who works in a palace buys clothes in a second-hand store. But I do, sometimes I also find a suit on the Noordermarket in Amsterdam. If it does not fit perfectly, or if it is a double breasted model for example, and I prefer a single row, then I’ll fix it myself. I’m able to because at Highschool I followed sewing lessons. My white shirts I usually buy (a number at the same time, because I hate shopping) at C & A. Because I have fairly long arms, the sleeves are always too short. I make the sleeves fit by adding a piece of fabric just above the cuff. No one will notice, because I’ll never take off my jacket. I do not wear a shirt with an open collar, only with a tie, or a choker or a bow. Also for a tie, I often succeed in a thrift shop. Sometimes I use a nice piece of fabric or lace to make a pocket square. Furthermore, I only wear black stockings, I also buy a lot of them once in a while. It is practical and saves a lot of searching after washing.
“I never wear a watch, but I do like jewelry, especially my rings, all having their own story. Like the wedding ring of my grandfather and a ring of a friend who died. For my 25th anniversary at the Palace The Loo my wife gave me a ring. My cufflinks are made of earrings that belonged to my great-grandmother. Everything I wear has to be timeless, it’s all about the overall picture. The advantage of my way of dressing is that I never panic when unexpected (high)visitors arrive at Paleis Het Loo.”
Back in the capital
“After almost thirty years my wife and I removed to Amsterdam. A lot has changed! In the streets, I suddenly notice the drabness, the nonchalance and the uniformity in the clothing. I decided that I is not my concern. If I can dress like I want to, everybody can! “