The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


The clog, or wooden shoe, is still manually made in the Netherlands. Knowledge of the anatomy of the foot is essential for the clog maker to make a really wearable, comfortable clog. Making clogs is a craft that is passed on from master to apprentice. The clog maker saws a tree into slices (bollen). These are as thick as the intended length of the clog. The craftsman splits the wood like the pieces of a pie, every lump will become a clog. With a hand axe he models the wood and refines this with a praalmes. When the outside is nearly finished, the clog is hollowed out with a special drill or a chisel. The clogs are finished and have to dry a number of weeks, sometimes months, for clogs are made from fresh, hence damp wood. They then are decorated with carvings or they are painted. Shape and decoration depend on the region. There are special clogs for special occasions, like bridal clogs, and for professions, like fisherman’s clogs.



The interests of craftsmen who still make clogs by hand, are represented by the Stichting Klompen Monument (Clogs Monument Foundation). This foundation wants to keep the craft alive for the future. There is a close relationship with the European Wooden Shoes Foundation, an interest group that wants to bring clog makers together at European level, establishes an archive and organises European championships. There are several clog museums in the Netherlands, the two largest are situated in Eelde and Goor. The clog makery ‘De Zaanse Schans’, with 850,000 visitors a year, plays an important role in the promotion of clog making.



Traditionally clogs were made by farmers and fishermen. They had enough time for it during the winter months. Until recently, it was a typically male occupation. The oldest clogs found in the Netherlands, date from the eleventh century. The craft, as still executed by some, certainly existed 800 years ago. Over time, less people wore clogs and consequently and steadily the number of clog makers decreased. On top of that, from the end of the nineteenth century, more and more clogs were mechanically produced. During the forties of the last century there was a slight revival in the use of clogs, because of a serious shortage of shoes. There were still thousands of people who could make wearable clogs by hand. By the end of the fifties the decrease in demand became substantial. Peasants, peasant children and bricklayers were nearly the only ones to wear clogs. A tiny, and temporary revival in the use of clogs was seen at the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies, when hippies and people with an alternative attitude started to wear them. The clog makers are aware that they are practising a rare craft. Since 2008 yearly championships of manual clog making have been organised. An important objective of the match is the call for attention. The clog makers profit somehow from the new Zeitgeist, a time in which sustainability and craftsmanship are highly valued.



Stichting Klompen Monument
Parallelweg 45
6023 BB
Noord Brabant