WCW: Carice van Houten


To most of us, she’s Melisandre from the just-ended Game of Thrones. And as that’s one of my favorite characters, she’s been on my brain! Van Houten is a Dutch actress and has actually done a decent number of period flicks, so let’s run them down.


Black Book (2006)

Set during World War II, van Houten plays a Jewish woman who goes undercover as a gentile singer to infiltrate the Nazis occupying the Netherlands. I remember watching this, but I can’t remember what I thought of it, other than I didn’t hate it!

2006 Black Book

That’s right, she’s blonde in this (as part of her disguise).

She does do retro glam beautifully!

Love the sheer dress!


Valkyrie (2008)

Sticking with the World War II theme, she plays Nina von Stauffenberg, wife of a German colonel (Tom Cruise) who tried to assassinate Hitler.

2008 Valkyrie

I’d be sad too if I was married to Tom Cruise.


From Time to Time (2009)

A mid-20th century English boy travels in time to the Regency era, where he meets various ancestors, including van Houten’s character.

2009 From Time to Time

Looking elegant with Hugh Bonneville.


Black Death (2010)

A monk investigates mysterious goings-on during a plague epidemic in 14th century England. Van Houten plays one of the village leaders, who is supposedly bringing people back from the dead.

2010 Black Death

A dry run for Melisandre?

Okay the forehead makeup is pretty cool!


Welkom bij de Romeinen (2014)

A Dutch series that’s a comic take on history; van Houten plays Cleopatra in one episode.

2014 Welkom bij de Romeinen

Not taking anything seriously.

Especially not in the makeup dept.!


Brimstone (2016)

A dark Western.

2016 Brimstone

Ah, the scraped-back hairstyles of the mid-19th century. SO flattering.


Race (2016)

Returning to WWII yet again, van Houten plays German Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in this film about Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics.

2016 Race

The 1930s is SO chic!


The Glass Room (2019)

Set in 1930s Czechoslovakia, in which two women fall in love while living in an iconic modernist house.

2019 The Glass Room

Love the ultra-bohemian look.



Which is your favorite Carice van Houten historical role? NO Game of Thrones doesn’t count!


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

6 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    Haven’t seen enough to go on, so have to opt for Black Book. Will try to see some on the others.

  2. Kathleen Julie Norvell

    OMG! Valkyrie was so bad! I never even noticed her.

  3. Susan Pola Staples

    Gotta go with Black Book since I didn’t know about the others excerpts for Valkyrie and I feel about Tom Cruise the same way I feel about PFG.

    Besides you excluded GOT.

  4. LadySlippers

    Ohhhhh some of those look excellent! Thanks for sharing! 💖