Oh, Dutch stereotypes 🇳🇱 — there’s tulips, weed, an obsession with orange, and, well, clogs.
Only the Dutch don’t usually totter around in the chunky wooden shoes that have become to represent Dutch culture worldwide. Or do they? 🤔
What is it?
Visit any tourist shop in the Netherlands and there are three things you’ll see right away — weed-plant patterned socks, (fake) Delft blue porcelain mugs and intensely yellow wooden clogs.
Clogs, klompen in Dutch, have a long history in the Netherlands. Since the 13th century, this Dutch footwear has protected the feet of workers, fishermen, farmers, and artisans from the safety hazards of their everyday lives.
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In fact, even the European Union has officially declared the clog a safety shoe. Now, that’s radical.
Especially considering that it’s not really widely worn, like, at all. No construction worker nor farmer nowadays would ever get the idea that clogs are the right type of footwear to plough a field or put up scaffolding.
But the stereotype remains: the women wear white bonnets, blue dresses, and clogs. The men wear black wide trousers, suspenders, caps, and clogs.
Why do they do it?
Well, the Dutch don’t wear their clogs because there are more practical, warmer, and fashionable alternatives now — such as dirty white Airmax or platform Doc Martens boots.
On a day-to-day basis, a Dutchie may wear a plushy houseshoe version of the clog or some type of garden shoe resembling the clog in shape and size.
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Yet the chunky, wooden shoe has sneakily made its way into the curious world of high-fashion 🤨. In 2020, Hermès let their models stride across the runway in vamped-up leather klompen.
Since then, multiple fashion brands have brought out their own version of the clog. Though not entirely made from wood, we do like to think it pays a tribute to Dutch traditional dress.
Why is it quirky?
It’s a century-old footwear tradition that just refuses to die out, however uncomfortable clunky wooden shoes may be.
It’s also another Dutch thing everyone else but the Dutch seem to really really love.
Should you join in?
To be honest, buying the cheap yellow clogs you can find in tourist shops everywhere is not necessary to immerse yourself in Dutch culture.
But if you really want to take some version of the Dutch clog home — try to find the houseshoes! They’re comfortable, soft, and, well, worn inside the house away from everyone to see.
What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2022, and was fully updated in May 2023 for your reading pleasure.
If you leave the city you realise how wrong this is. It’s no longer common, but it’s not rare either.