The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

13 April 2014

K is for wooden shoes

Klompen are traditional Dutch shoes, the whole-foot wooden clogs. You’ve seen pictures of them – might even have a pair in your garden. They (like tulips and windmills) are so evocative of Holland, that the Dutch at times have been known as Kloggies, though I’ve never been clear on whether that’s pejorative or not. I love them, you see – the shoes and the people, so to me it’s a term of endearment.

Klompen aren’t just quaint, though. They are practical and – this may surprise you - even comfortable. While millions are made every year for tourists to bring home as souvenirs, there are still many Dutch who wear them for their work in factories, on farms, or while gardening, as they are practical, which the Dutch love, but also hard-wearing and provide excellent protection against wayward cow hooves. 

When we lived in Germany we’d visit mom’s family in Amsterdam during the summer, and spend some time ‘at the camping’ which the Dutch are fond of doing. While there, I’d either be barefoot or in klompen. They were rain-proof, mud-proof, great for walking in the dunes, and I could run as well in them as in regular shoes.  After enough time, the inside gets worn down to perfectly conform to your foot. Talk about a custom fit! I carried on the tradition, wearing them on our own family camping trips, and would still wear them today while working outdoors if I had a pair that fit. The only pair I have now I wore as a child. They sit decoratively in the kitchen, reminding me of happy times.

I’m a Kloggy and proud of it.


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