The history behind the Dutch wooden clog - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

The history behind the Dutch wooden clog


Wooden clogs are heavy work shoes that were typically worn by Dutch peasants up through the beginning of the twentieth century.

Wood is not the most comfortable, so why use the material?

"The Netherlands, the name means 'the low lands'. So the entire country is below sea level," said Taylor Reynolds, Office Manager at Orange City Chamber of Commerce. "And so if you're working in agriculture, your shoes can get damp and wet. And if they were leather, which was a common material used back in the day, they'll rot."   

Orange City, Iowa has it's very own wooden shoe-carving equipment.

"Which includes hand tools that were used by Wilhelm Jansen," said Reynolds. "The most well-known wooden shoe carver from Orange City. We have a template from Wilhelm that he hand-carved and then the machines here, duplicate them two at a time."

They were traditionally made entirely by hand, either by their wearers or by specialized artisans. 

"We use bass wood, it's a softer wood," adds Reynolds. "But typically, you want to soak that and have it moist before you carve the shoes. If you do a dry block, you can have chipping and splitting."

But Orange City has a machine to help them create the traditional clog.

"The machine carving is a good opportunity for locals to learn, and to demonstrate for others visiting," Reynolds explains.

What starts as a block of wood...

"You would twist, and scoop out the wood from the inside of the shoe to make room for the heel and the toes," said Reynolds.

...carefully transitions to a wooden clog.

To be worn by those in the parade, and throughout the Festival, to show Dutch Pride. 

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