From church clogs
to roller skate clogs

Experience the fascinating world of clogs

The clog throughout the ages

The oldest clog that has ever been found in the Netherlands has been dated by universities to around 1250 AD. We can confidently conclude from this that the history of the Dutch clog goes back a millennium. An abundance of wood meant everybody used to wear these inexpensive yet sturdy wooden shoes.

Historic postcard of clogs being made by hand.

Unfortunately almost all clogs ended up as firewood after use, meaning historic clogs are rare. You can see one of the Netherlands’s biggest and best clog collections at our clog museum at the Zaanse Schans.

One of the Netherlands’s biggest and best clog collections.

Although wooden shoes were also worn in other countries, the full wooden clog is typically Dutch. Each Dutch region used to have its own clog makers with their own recognizable shape of clogs. One look at someone’s clogs and you would know where they were from.

The clog was an outdoor shoe. It protected feet and kept them nice and warm. Clogs were taken off at the front door and put on a clog rack. Decorations on the shoe were often used to distinguish ownership. They were also often specifically adapted for work.

“Each Dutch region or village used to have its own clog makers with their own recognizable shape of clogs.”

From 1550 AD, dried peat became the main source of fuel alongside wood. In the rural peat districts in the north-eastern part of the Netherlands where peat was collected for fuel, special peat clogs were worn which were adapted to the boggy ground. These clogs had a flat and extra broad sole to avoid sinking into the soft terrain. Our collection even contains a pair of real ‘horse clogs,’ which the horses wore so that they could make their way across the boggy land.

Clogs provided grip for both man and animal. The ‘horse clog’ and the ‘ice clog’ are examples of this.

Extra robust clogs were made for stoneworkers and dyke workers who were using blocks of basalt to strengthen dykes. In the severe winters, the soles of the clogs were fitted with iron studs to give them more grip on the slippery ice.

There were also special clogs for wearing to church on Sundays. Bridegrooms would get a splendid pair of bridal clogs made for their wedding day often decorated with patterns symbolizing trust, hope, and love. After the wedding, these were often displayed in the best room of the house as they were too beautiful to wear more often and let them wear out.

Clogs are often decorated with paintings or carvings.

As well as the collection of bridal clogs, we have a separate display of wooden shoes from around the whole world, from the Pyrenees to Japan. Our museum is also home to a collection of special clogs. What do you think about the high-heeled clogs? Or how about the roller skate clogs or Ajax clogs?

The clog also inspires artists. Dutch artist Bas van Buuren has been working on his clog project for decades. Some of his unusual creations have are on permanent display in our museum.

The diamond clog is a unique acquisition for the clog museum. The famous Amsterdam artist and worker in precious metals Jan Roedema came up with the design which was inspired by Damien Hirst and the organic shape of the clog.

‘The Diamond Clog’ is on display in the clog museum.

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