The occupying forces continued the distribution system that the Dutch government had introduced in 1939. In 1940, clothing was rationed. That the Dutch people were not very enthusiastic about the distribution system is shown by the fact that the Germans felt the need to publish the propaganda brochure "In uw belang" ('to your advantage'), which explained the necessity of the distribution and rationing system.
The textile card
In August 1940, every Dutch person was given a textile card with coupons for 100 points for a period of six months. Naturally, the goods also had to be paid for. The textile cards were provided with name, address and date of birth. There were separate cards for men, women, boys and girls. In 1941 and 1942 three more textile cards followed. The retailer cut the necessary points from the card and handed them in at the distribution office to obtain new stock. More and more points had to be handed in for each product and cards had to be used for longer and longer periods of time.
Soap was also rationed, which made it extra important to use clothing and textiles carefully and sparingly. They were washed as little as possible. Anyone who brought washing to a central laundry had to hand in one of their soap coupons for a certain amount of washing. Vouchers for later use were issued if not all the soap was needed.
Even earlier than textiles, shoes became part of the distribution system: in May 1940, a general ban was introduced on the free sale of shoes. To buy shoes, you had to have a shoe coupon, and for this purpose an extensive form had to be filled in, showing that the shoes were really required. As more of the leather went to the Germans, producers switched to making shoes from other materials. Shoes with wooden soles were widely worn.
Distribution after the war
The distribution system continued after the war. In March 1946 the first post-war textile card was issued, but no longer provided with name and address details. In 1947, 1948 and 1949 new textile cards followed, which were no longer differentiated by gender and age.