In the US, kids instantly recognize Mickey Mouse. In the Netherlands and the rest of the world, it's Miffy.
Recently, the dick bruna huis of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Netherlands, became home to one of the most recognized bunnies in the world. And although it's not exactly Disneyland, the permanent exhibit does feature the work of Dick Bruna, the children's book illustrator who created the popular bunny cartoon more than 50 years ago.
You've probably seen Miffy: She has a round face with two ears, two dots for eyes, and an X for a mouth. Like most of Mr. Bruna's artwork, Miffy is drawn using few colors and very simple lines. But this simplicity is by design. After all, Miffy is for kids. And when Bruna created the bunny, he wanted to create something kids could relate to.
Miffy first appeared in 1955 in the children's book, "Miffy at the Seaside." Like the Miffy books that have followed, Bruna's first was 16 pages long and had four lines of rhyming text opposite drawings of the bunny.
Since then, Miffy - known as Nijntje (little rabbit) in the Netherlands, where Bruna lives and works - has become a pop icon. She's found throughout the world on clothing, posters, postcards, and in sculptures and pictures. There's even a "Miffy and Friends" animated series. (It airs on cable TV in the US.)
Bruna continues to illustrate Miffy books at his studio. (He just completed Miffy book No. 114.) But for Miffy fans who can't get enough of this bunny, there is now one more place to find her. And fittingly it's right where it all began, in the Netherlands.