Clogs: the traditional Dutch wooden shoe

December 3, 2015

Clogs keep your feet dry and wearing them is even considered to be healthy. In this month’s blog we will take a stroll through the world of wooden shoes.

Wooden shoes (klompen) are one of the most well-known and authentic products from Holland. Traditional Dutch clogs are an intrinsic part of Dutch culture and historically, the wooden shoe became so popular that each region in Holland developed its own distinctive model. Clogs were frequently worn whilst undertaking heavy labour and were shaped according to their end use. Some had rounded edges while fisherman often wore clogs with pointed toes to help them pull their nets in.

It is estimated that the first clogs were created at least 850 years ago and the oldest wooden shoe (found in Nieuwendijk, Amsterdam) dates from around the year 1230 and is made of alder wood. However, this is only an estimation and the exact year and date of when the first clogs were made is unknown, as worn-out clogs were usually burned in fireplaces.

Although not many people still wear wooden shoes, they are known to keep your feet dry, and wearing them is even considered to be healthy and safe. Therefore, wooden shoes continue to be used by some as protective footwear in agriculture, in some industrial facilities and in mines. Due to their strength and durability, clogs have also been certified by the European Union as safety shoes.

Moreover, this centuries’ old icon of Holland is still also providing inspiration in the world of fashion, with designers such as Viktor and Rolf and Louis Vuitton featuring clogs in their collections.

Top places to see clogs and how they are made:

  • Visit the largest wooden shoe in Klompendorp (Clogvillage) in the east of Holland. The clog in is 403 cm x 171 cm x 169 cm, all carved from one piece of wood.
  • One of the still existing 25 traditional handcrafted clog makers.
  • Visit the Internationaal Klompenmuseum (International Clogs museum) in the east of Holland.

Visit Holland on a short break and experience the true essence of Dutch culture for yourself! Find out more from here!


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