Destinations Magazine

Nijntje/Miffy is Getting a Facelift

By Amsterdam City Tours

Well, not really. In truth, it's only Miffy, the British counterpart of the original Dutch Nijntje that's getting the facelift, and not her as much as her rhymes.

Originally created by Dutch cartoonist Dick Bruna in order to amuse his young son on a rainy summer holiday, Miffy, or Nijntje as she is known in her homeland, has been in publication since 1955. She has looked exactly the way she does now since 1963, coincidentally also the year she was first published in English in the UK. In case you've never heard of either Nijntje or Miffy, this is she:


Miffy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She is a small white rabbit ("Nijntje" is a diminutive of "konijntje," or little white rabbit) who is either a baby or four years old depending on the story. There are over 30 titles featuring her and over 100 featuring her and her supporting characters. Each Miffy book contains sixteen pages, with four lines of text per page. They are generally written for children between the ages of 4 and 8, but adults have also been known to enjoy a good Miffy story. Nevertheless, Bruna intentionally makes his books small enough in size to fit into the little hands of his young readers.

So famous is Nijntje in her homeland, that there is even a statue of her in Bruna's native Utrecht in a square appropriately named "Nijntje Pleintje." Her merchandise can be found in any and every toy and book shop in the Netherlands, and a whole lot of R-rated grown up Nijntje merchandise can be seen in the seedier tourist shops of Amsterdam. Miffy has also been known to be litigious - in 2010, Miffy's creator Bruna successfully sued Hello Kitty's creators Sanrio over a claim that one of their characters infringed on Miffy's copyright. Suffice it to say that no "Cathy" (one of Hello Kitty's companions) merchandise can now legally be sold in the Benelux because Miffy is just that much of a bad ass and doesn't suffer lookalike bunnies kindly.

And now, fifty years after the publication of the first Miffy book in the UK, the world's favorite minimalist bunny is getting a facelift. A number of her books are currently being updated to appeal more to a modern audience, and her rhyming verse is being rewritten by the award-winning poet Tony Mitton. The first titles up for review are "Miffy," "Miffy at the Gallery," and "Miffy at the Zoo," and they are due out in early 2014. But don't worry - Nijntje's Dutch handlers are working closely with those at the helm of her UK transformation in order to make sure it does not stray from the Miffy we all know and love.

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