News - September 23, 2010

Stilettos in the cowshed

In a well-insulated area above the cow shed, VHL female student Systske Jonkman waits for her first photo shoot. Here, the scent of hairspray mingles with the smell of cow dung.

Sytske's straight locks have passed through the curling tongs hours ago, are fortified with hairspray and held in place with metal clips. A stylist puts make-up on her and removes the clips from her hair. She then puts together a sexy outfit. 'Can you take off your bra?'
'I am up for anything', says the second year student of animal and livestock management at VHL in Leeuwarden. 'It's cool to be featured as a farm girl in a calendar.' Sytskes' parents own a dairy farm with 180 cows in Winsum. One of the boys at school had submitted Sytske and her classmate's names for a chic farm girls calendar. 'It started as a joke and I didn't think that I would be selected. Then I found myself among the 18 finalists.' Well then, I'm going to give it my all, she thought. She asked people to vote for her at school, at the horse society and on Hyves. Finally, with 807 votes, she had enough to earn her a month in the calendar.
Smiling face
Wearing only a short unbuttoned jacket and black lace stockings, Sytske walks around the cow barn. The cows behind the iron fences did not look up or around. The stylist helps Sytske to put on the shoes with stiletto heels.
The photographer gets Sytske to sit on the broad wheel of the animal trailer. Arms raised, one leg backwards. Her little jacket goes up, but still covers her breasts. 'Nose downwards and keep looking sneakily at me', dictates the photographer. When he asks for wind, the stylist fans with a big board. The farm owner views all these agreeably. 'That's one smiling face. She can do her internship here', he jokes about Sytske.

Wrong tractor
An hour later, this Friesian student poses in denim blouse and cowboy boots next to a tractor. 'They're not going to like that Fendt back home', says her friend Gerbrich. She is referring to the brand of the tractor, not her friend's sexy outfit Dutch farmers are either Fendt-natics or proud owners of a John Deere; Sytske's parents fall into the latter category. When Sytske finishes her studies in Leeuwarden, she wants to study Veterinary Medicine. 'I want to be a veterinarian. The work is varied. You get to visit many farmers.' One of the other farm girls laughs: 'I think that those farmers will phone you every night about sick cows.' ® Alexandra Branderhorst
You can vote for the photograph of Sytske you want to see appear in the calendar at

The chic farm girls calendar
'We want to show the girls at their prettiest, like professional photo models. This is also their main motivation for taking part. The girls want to show that farmers aren't always in clogs and aprons', says Boerderij editor Jacco Keuper.
The weekly magazine 'Boerderij' produced the chic farm girls calendar for the first time in 2009. Together with the spunky farmers calendar, which attracted a less avid following.
'We usually cover farming issues, while this is entertainment. It also attracts people to the website', explains Keuper. 'The calendar will be sold in many places. It certainly wouldn't be found only in barns or potato storage sheds.' The calendar can be ordered at