Wooden Shoes
Wooden Shoes

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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Souvenirs ➔ Wooden Shoes

This miniature pair of wooden shoes, also called clogs or klompen, are a souvenir and feature pyrotechnic details and a Dutch windmill as well as the words "Holland Night" on the right shoe.

Once Americans started traveling the open road for adventure, souvenirs stepped in as reminders of the places, events, and activities enjoyed on the journey. Many motorists collected keychains, magnets, picture postcards, shot glasses, and spoons in a tradition that continues today. Bottles of sand or rocks from a visited location also hold memories. In fact, tourists in the 1800s often broke pieces off Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts or cut curtains at Washington D.C.’s Capitol Building for take-home treasures. Now hand-painted Delftware pottery, freshly-baked stroopwafel cookies, and hand-carved wooden shoes are among Holland, Michigan’s most popular souvenirs. 

Clogs have been worn worldwide since medieval times, however, the footwear is most famous in Holland. Often fashioned from a single piece of poplar wood, Dutch klompen are naturally waterproof in the wet Netherlands climate, making the shoe affordable and practical. Clogs were actually shaped differently for different jobs, giving farmers flat square bottoms to remove peat blocks and fishermen sharp pointed noses to hook nets. Klompen were also showcased at church, weddings, and even presented to young women during marriage proposals. These would often be painted, engraved, or decorated to match the fancier leather-made styles. Clogs were so popular in the past that each town in the Netherlands was paired with its own shoemaker who could carve one set by hand in three to four hours. Today, machines speed up the process and while few klompen are worn by farmers or gardeners across Holland, the majority of clogs are sold as souvenirs.  

20th century
Paint, Wood
Current Location Status:
Education Program

Discovery Cart: A is for Autos (February 4 2020)
Discovery Carts connect visitors to Museum exhibits through hands-on exploration of objects in the Collection. Knowledgeable Discovery Cart facilitators engage guests with interactive activities and discussion questions during GRPM's open hours.
[Discovery carts are offered on a rotating schedule depending on facilitator availability]

Virtual Discovery Kit: A is for Autos (April 2020)
Automobiles take us places, from school, to work, to leisure. Learn about the history of cars, Michigan’s impact in the automobile industry, traveling and what draws people to own and drive cars.