Local Heart, Global Soul

March 5, 2014

From The Stunningly Beautiful To The Dreadfully Bizarre….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Everyone knows that a special occasion such as a wedding is often a time when people splash out on a new outfit and shoes.

This is not a modern tradition, and in fact, in one respect grooms have less hard work to do in preparing for their nuptials now than in times of old.

Here in the museum at Zaans Schans, back in the summer of 2012 I learned lots of new things about Dutch traditions to do with “klompen” (clogs / wooden shoes) such asone information board tells me:

” If you were to be married on Marken or elsewhere a unique task awaited the bridegroom- this was to carve a pair of clogs by hand.

Beautiful motifs often with a symbolical meaning were used, sometimes the brides name and wedding date were engraved, and after many. many hours of intensive work an exclusive gift for the bride -to-be was created. The beautiful clogs were worn with pride once the pair were engaged.  The Marken bridegroom used many motifs and patterns in his carvings. Varying from figurative to symbolical – such as the bird which symbolizes fertility: and geometric to semi-abstract – such as the use of rosettes, stars, interwoven hearts, spirals and knots. Incredibly time consuming, the clogs are a true expression of love!”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Religion also determined footwear in centuries past, another information board tells me: ” Church clogs from Hindeloopen (1675)  These wooden shoes are about 300 years old, dating back to the period of early Hindeloopen folk art. At that time religion determined he lives of the people, more so than it does now- even footwear was decorated with biblical images. In this case the right clog shows “The lost son in grief” and the left “The lost son in splendour“.

It’s hard to get a photograph though the glass of the cabinet, but the colour and detail is exquisite…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Platijnen”In the middle ages the wooden sandal developed into the “pattern”or “platijnen”. the “pattern”served as overshoe in which a thin slipper was worn. The metal platform meant that leather shoes and garments made less contact with street dirt. These “platijnen”date back to the 15th century.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Elegant carved, possibly bridal clogs, acquired in 2001, presumed to be from East Friesland, just over the German border.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And other clog from around Europe are sometimes just as ornate: These are from the Pyrenees area of France.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A special hatchet for clog makers (with a tilted handle) used to chop the rough clog shape out of a block of wood. Three special scooped chisels/drills are used to hollow out the foot opening.

It’s also worth noting that the “tourist” clog  that can be bought in many a Dutch souvenir shop differs vastly in fit to “real” klompen still worn today on farms, docks etc as proper working shoes. People who work in klompen have appointments with the makers who custom fit the inside of the clog so that it fits the wearer perfectly, so no rough edges and hard uncomfortable bits in their shoes, unlike the poor tourist who is generally lumbered with the “one size fits all” version.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Of course where you have the sublime you will usually also find the ridiculous: The Dutch have a sense of humour and this is reflected in their klompen… from mimicking leather shoes to the rather unsteady looking high heeled clog, there are also a selection on display that range from the funny to the cringe-worthy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

2 Comments »

  1. Wow those are cool. The screaming mouths were a bit scary, though.

    Comment by Brenda — March 5, 2014 @ 3:31 am | Reply

  2. I had no idea wooden clogs of old were so ornate — really beautiful — and the tradition behind them is so interesting. I’d take a pair of hand-carved clogs over a ring bought at a shopping mall any day! 🙂

    And as for “platijnen” — ugly sandals look the same no matter what century we’re in!

    Comment by Luddy's Lens — March 14, 2014 @ 2:30 am | Reply


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