How Dutch Wooden Shoes Are Made
When I tell people I’m from The Netherlands, they always jokingly say: oh, so you must be walking on wooden shoes all the time, right? The truth is, I didn’t actually think people would still walk on wooden shoes until I saw a farmer actually walking on the famous Dutch wooden shoe.
Naturally, that sparked my curiosity. How are these traditional wooden clogs made and why the hell are people actually wearing them?
In Noardburgum, a small town in Friesland, you can find one of the very few wooden shoe factories in The Netherlands. Since 1960 Scherjon Klompen Fabriek and Museum, a small family business are producing their wooden shoes here. Currently, the business is run by two brothers, the 6th generation of Scherjon Wooden Shoe Makers.
So, here’s how the wooden shoes are made:
1. Willow trees are cut into large disks;
2. These disks are cut into smaller blocks;
3. Using a template the blocks of wood are copied into the characteristic wooden shoe shape;
4. Different machines are used to carve out the shoe’s inside;
5. Finishing touches are made to create the final shape;
6. Shoes are ready to dry, after which they can be sanded and painted;
7. Finally, the shoes are sold in their own shop.
The guys working here are genuinely walking on these wooden shoes, but why?
Hannes Scherjon, the oldest of the two brothers told me that they are used to walk on wooden shoes since they were little kids. He says that the wooden shoes fit nicely and walk comfortably and above all, in the Netherlands, wooden shoes are recognized as official safety shoes.
To be honest, I don’t see myself walking on wooden shoes, nor do I think that it will become a fashion trend any time soon.
However, I do like the fact that these two brothers are maintaining an old Dutch tradition and are honoring their family business, as the 6th generation of wooden shoemakers, with pride.
More info about Scherjon’s Wooden Shoe Factory & Museum, visit https://www.klompen.frl
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