The Netherlands is famous for its cheeses, tulips, windmills and exotic wooden clogs. These fun facts about these unique Dutch clogs will blow your mind.
Facts 1: Clogs or wooden shoes = Dutch.
Why the Dutch should be identified as excellent wooden shoe wearers is unclear, but it is. Several styles of clogs have been worn by people all over the world, and many are beautiful, such as the elegant Cantabrian black clogs and the edgy Danish traesko.
Facts 2: Classic wooden clogs are durable and wide.
Classic Dutch clogs cover most of the foot and are usually made of poplar or willow. Its durability has earned its CE certification, which means they are truly EU-certified safety shoes. So good for cows that are stepping on your toes but not so good for a quick escape from a hayloft through, say, a ladder.
Facts 3: Traditional clogs with black soles
Traditional clogs have a black sole for working on clay or a yellow sole for working on sandy soil. This way, the clogs won’t get too dirty. The upper trim is said to give the clog a shoe-like appearance, an item that very few farmers could afford.
Facts 4: There is a clog museum in the Netherlands.
Of course, there is a clog museum in the Netherlands. It has about 2,200 pairs of wooden footwear from around the world, including a pair of slip-on made by Elite Wijkstra. His son Berend completed the Elfsteden skating marathon on the double in 1954.
Facts 5: The oldest clogs date from 1230
The oldest clog ever found so far is believed to date from 1230 and was made from old wood. It was found during excavations of Nieuwendijk in Amsterdam. You can find the largest clog ever made from a single piece of wood in entering the province of Overijssel. It is 403 cm long, 171 cm wide and 169 cm high.
Facts 6: The number of clog makers greatly decreased after World War.
After the World War, there were about 3,900 clog makers in the Netherlands, now only a few remain. One of the largest clog manufacturers in the world is Nijhuis in Beltrum, which started in 1938. It produces about 300,000 pairs of clogs a year, which are exported around the world. Part of the clogging process takes place in China. Underwear wear is dwindling, which is why Nijhuis is promoting the sustainability and orthopedic and breathable properties – of the clog.
Facts 7: You need to learn how to comfortably wear wooden clogs like the locals.
Wearing pins is not as easy as you think. It involves flexing the toes to stay in place, a strenuous process that can be painful, to begin with but gets easier over time. Farmers can even dance in them, the so-called ‘klompendans’.
If your toes can’t take the strain, you can always choose sandals as they are popular with tourists. Fashionistas will love a pair of Viktor & Rolf heels.
Facts 8: There are many ways to express wooden clogs in Dutch.
It is not surprising that Dutch has a large number of expressions that have a klomp or a klompen. Dat kun je op je klompen aanvoelen (you can feel that wearing clogs) ie something very obvious indeed. Or Nou breekt mijn klomp (this broke my clogs) ie I never!
Facts 9: Making wooden clogs by hand is still respected.
Making wooden clogs by hand is still respected. There is even a European Wooden Shoe Foundation dedicated to keeping the craft alive with clog-making days, festivals and courses in clog-making.
Facts 10: In Belgium, clogs are called ‘holleblokken’
In Belgium, clogs are called ‘holleblokken’, or hollow blocks, and if you look at this old news item from 1925, you’ll understand why.
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