The Netherlands | EUNewsletter

The Netherlands and the wooden shoes

Windmills, bicycles, tulips, liberal views and delicious cheese: a versatile mosaic called the Netherlands.

One of its curious traditions that can be traced through time and art are the wooden shoes. Klompens, the Dutch wooden shoes, are a well-known Dutch trademark. The first klompens were made in the Middle Ages. They were part of national costumes and special decorations would inform where the person wearing them comes from. There were also diverse traditions related to the klompens. For instance, on the Island of Marken, a fiancé had to make klompens for his bride, who would only put them on at the wedding. At that time the klompens were entirely hand-made, but they are now cut out by mechanical devices, while the ornaments are still carved and coloured manually. Worn as everyday shoes in the past, today they are mostly produced as souvenirs, but are still occasionally used in the garden.