Local Heart, Global Soul

March 6, 2014

The Very Strange Mixture Of Wonder And Disbelief…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Tourist shops are tourist shops: piled high with merchandise that can generally be classified as “the good, the bad and the ugly”…

…or more often ” the ugly, the useless and ugly and the both tasteless, useless and ugly”.

Here in Zaans Schans it’s running pretty much to the rule, there are a few tasteful  things and a ton of tat, but most of all there are shoes: tons and tons of wooden shoes.

I’m not an ornamental type of gal, the porcelain figures of the cute kitsch Dutch boy kissing the cute kitsch Dutch girl are light-years from what I would call a stunning addition to my home.

But each to their own… someone must like them and buy them or things like these wouldn’t be on sale in Dutch tourist shops.

Personally I wouldn’t object to a pair of klompen (clogs / wooden shoes) , but my pair of choice would preferably be old, even antique, very well used, plain in style and have been clearly worn. They would have ( preferably long)  history and character. Imagine my shock therefore when I came around the corner of the corridor in the museum and discovered the tourist shop. “Wall to Wall” clogs is n understatement… it’s wall to wall and floor to ceiling and the entire ceiling covered with clogs. The loft space of the building is visible and even that is a storage space for clogs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You name a shoe size and they will surely have clogs here to fit, I can seriously say I have never seen so many clogs in one space, and in fact I hazard a guess that some regular Dutch shoe shops have less pairs than this. From a photographic point of view it’s fascinating,  from a personal point of view I’m cringing, it’s like a weird melange of  “Oh Wow!” and “Ew!” at the same time.

At one end of the room it’s possible to see a demonstration of how the clogs are made, as I stand taking photographs a young man comes and carves out a little more on a clog mounted on a lathe nearby. I find the rough, less hewn pairs more fascinating than the shiny, glossy, painted finished pairs.

I also like the decoration on the old metal till better than the little porcelain blue and white windmills.  Sigh, having confessed that must I now relinquish my Dutch nationality? Is this treason? These clogs are fascinating: I wonder on earth buys them all, do they actually try and wear them? ( I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall when they did because surely these can’t be correctly fitted or comfortable?) …do they hang them on the wall? …do they park pot plants in them? .. or are they shoved in the back of a cupboard or adorn the cistern on the loo?

I have a smile on my face… one of wonder and disbelief, but each to their own I suppose: what scares me in this room obviously makes a lot of other tourists very, very happy indeed. Mind you, upon reflection maybe it’s me that’s the odd one out here, after all I adore old tools and patterns on street drain covers… One thing is for certain: The object that is one man’s nightmare is another’s dream, and wht not? … each to their own.

(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)

(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)

1 Comment »

  1. As I recall, those rough-hewn shoes were free for the taking when we were there as I am in possession of one of them. (It was freshly carved when I took it and terribly wet wood so quite heavy for its size! It weighs almost nothing now that it has dried out.) I also bought one of the painted “touristy” ones but just a single shoe that had a hook on the sole for hanging on the wall 😉 http://www.walagata.com/w/flower753/klompen.jpg

    Comment by Carrie — March 8, 2014 @ 3:07 pm | Reply


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