Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Clogs can be traced back as far as 1367 and it is most likely they originated much earlier. They are still worn as daily foot wear. During the wet and cold periods on the farms in the Netherlands, clogs keep feet dry. Modern replicas of the iconic shape are made in rubber for rainwear and in warm fabrics for slippers. Colours have also changed from basic yellow with red trimmings to street scenes, flowers, blue and white, polka dots and cow patterns.

For the fabrication of clogs, a white polar wood is used from trees that are specially grown for this purpose. For the perfect pair of clogs, fresh wet wood is cut into square blocks, carved and then smoothed into the right shape.

In the past the smelter in IJmuiden supplied industrial clogs to their employees as safety gear, as it was the only footwear that could stand up to a splatter of red-hot molten metal without burning worker's feet. Custom made clogs were also produced in the days of dyke building to serve as fulcrums in lifting stones with crowbars. New techniques in dyke building and the modernization of melting-furnaces have meant these types of industrial clogs are no longer produced.

Along with the traditional yellow with red clogs, villages were recognized by their own unique colours and patterns. Then there are the chip-carved bridal clogs, a true work of art, plain in colour with intricately carved designs. The suitor will present the pair to his loved one as a proposal of marriage; if she accepts them she will wear them at their wedding. 

Today, most clogs are produced for the tourist trade but some are still used on the farms. Here at SRF in Harlingen we regularly see a few shipyard workers wearing them. Because they are so durable, they can outlast their owners. Some retired ones are turned into flowerpots.

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