Miffy turns 60 – a year of celebration

Overview of activity marking milestone for classic children’s character

This year marks a special anniversary for one of the world’s most famous children's characters; Miffy, the little white bunny, is celebrating her 60th birthday.

Miffy was “born” on 21 June 1955 – when Dutch artist Dick Bruna (now retired) first drew the character to entertain his young son whilst on a rainy seaside holiday in Holland. The series of picture books which followed used simple illustrations and rhyming text to explore the universal experiences of childhood, and immediately earned Bruna international critical acclaim.

60 years later, with the Miffy stories currently published in more than 50 languages, merchandise sold across five continents, plus several musicals, TV series and a movie all successfully entertaining 21st century pre-schoolers worldwide, the popularity of this iconic character endures.

Global anniversary celebrations will take place throughout 2015. Highlights are as follows:

MIFFY’s 60th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS IN 2015:

The Netherlands:

January:

• The Dutch Postal Company PostNL releases 12 commemorative stamps, one for each month of 2015, featuring illustrations of Miffy. Visit:

http://collectclub.postnl.nl/thema-s/literatuur.html?dir=asc&order=name

miffy’s bicycle is to be published in the dialect spoken in Utrecht, Dick Bruna’s home town. This title marks Miffy’s promotion of the Grand Départ of the 2015 Tour de France (see below).

February:

• The new theatre concert, Miffy the Musical, opens at the Tivoli Vredenburg Music Centre in Utrecht on 22 February, https://www.tivolivredenburg.nl.

May:

• Miffy Art Parade: 60 famous artists from the Netherlands and Japan have been asked to decorate a 1.8 metre white Miffy statue in their own unique way. 45 of these eye-catching statues will go on display in prime locations in Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht between 1 May and 30 September. The other 15 statues will accompany a touring exhibition in Japan (see below). The statue by Dutch artist, Richard Hutten was unveiled in his presence on 28 January at a press launch in Utrecht. A new statue will be revealed every day from 4 March onwards on http://www.miffyartparade.com. On 8 October the statues will be auctioned to raise money for UNICEF.

June: MIFFY’s BIRTHDAY – 21st June

• An exhibition Celebrating 60 Years of Miffy! opens at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht (20 June – 20 September). Everyone is invited to Miffy’s party! Party outfits, presents, decorations, birthday cake... The largest exhibition hall at the Centraal Museum will provide 1000m2 of educational fun for families with young children to celebrate Miffy’s anniversary. A simultaneous exhibition of approximately 100 original works by Dick Bruna will show the development of Miffy from 1955 to the present day, http://centraalmuseum.nl.

July:

• Miffy is to promote the Grand Départ of the 2015 Tour de France, Utrecht (4-5 July). www.letour.com/le-tour/2015/us/grand-depart.html

August:

• Rijksmuseum – the National Museum of the Netherlands, is to hold a retrospective of Dick Bruna’s oeuvre: Dick Bruna: designer, illustrator, artist, Amsterdam, 27 August – 15 November. https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/dick-bruna

 September:

• Dick Bruna’s attic studio, from which he produced illustrations and designs over many decades, will be given a permanent home within the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. Studio Dick Bruna will show how his work extends beyond the Miffy series and other children’s books; constantly changing exhibits will showcase his early book jacket designs, plus his numerous poster commissions for international organisations such as the Red Cross. http://centraalmuseum.nl/

December:

• From 6 July the dick bruna huis (opposite the Centraal Museum in Utrecht) closes for refurbishment. Reopening in December under its new name: Miffy Museum, it will be transformed into an interactive destination where children can discover the world around them through play. From more details, visit https://www.miffymuseum.com (website live from March onwards)

UNITED KINGDOM:

• Miffy is partnering with Bliss, the UK’s premature and special care baby charity, to fund-raise throughout the year. Activity includes:

•February: Bake for Bliss – Miffy aprons and baking sets available to support this nationwide fundraiser, http://miffybliss.com/ .

•Miffy Easter Extravaganza – art & craft, storytelling and birthday fun, plus cake sales to fundraise for Bliss in 500 UK nurseries in the run up to Easter, http://www.bliss.org.uk/take-action/miffy-easter-extravaganza/ .

•London Buggy Push – Miffy will be making an appearance to help volunteers at Bliss’s flagship fundraising event at a London park in June. Details tbc, http://www.bliss.org.uk/take-action/buggypush/.

JAPAN

• Celebrations will be widespread across the country in at least six cities, but the main focus of activity will be a touring exhibition celebrating 60 years of Dick Bruna’s art which will visit Tokyo, Kobe, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka and Yokohama from April 2015 onwards. This exhibition will include 15 statues from the Miffy Art Parade, designed by Japanese artists.

WORLDWIDE

• Steiff, creator of the world-famous teddy bears, is marking Miffy’s 60th anniversary with a Limited Edition Miffy Steiff and anniversary key ring. These two products are available worldwide from selected stores, (from Harrods and Hamleys in the UK) and from http://www.steiff.com/en/catalogsearch/result/?q=miffy

Further information and news about anniversary events will be available from www.miffy.com throughout 2015.

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About Miffy

This is the UK Official Online Press Office for Miffy

Dutch artist, Dick Bruna created the classic children's character, Miffy, in 1955 whilst on a rainy seaside holiday in North Holland. A little bunny kept hopping around the garden of his holiday home - he sketched it by day and at night Dick Bruna made up stories about it to entertain his one year old son. That bunny later became Miffy.

More than 60 years later, there are 33 storybooks about Miffy, which have sold over 85 million copies and are translated in more than 50 languages. Now published in the UK by Simon and Schuster, 16 Miffy storybooks have been refreshed for a modern British audience by award winning poet, Tony Mitton and are available from all good bookshops.

There is Miffy merchandise sold across 5 continents, a new TV series and a movie. Celebrations for Miffy's anniversary will take place worldwide throughout 2015.

The publishing and international rights to Miffy are managed by Mercis bv in Amsterdam.