The Wooden Shoe Workshop at the Zaanse Schans was founded more than 40 years ago.
This is our story
The Wooden Shoe Workshop was the first company to be set up at the Zaanse Schans. On 1 April 1974, Jaap and Ineke Kooijman decided to preserve the Dutch craft of clog-making for future generations to enjoy. The historical Zaanse Schans, an area of Dutch industrial heritage, was therefore the area of choice for their workshop.
De Vrede, a three-bay warehouse dating back to the mid-18th century, was previously intended for the storage of grain, snuff, and flour. We chose it for our clog-making company and in four decades it has seen us grow from a small family business (currently in its third generation) into a global name, welcoming more than a million visitors each year from all around the world.
Last century, industrialization and increased prosperity caused a decline in the demand for clogs, particularly in urban areas. This meant that the number of clog makers also declined. More than 8,000 people worked in the clog-making industry a century ago; now there are only a few dozen. Luckily, Jaap and Willem Kooijman managed to save a number of old clog-making machines from being thrown out as junk.
“The art of clog making has been passed on to a new generation of clog makers who demonstrate and explain their trade in as many as eleven languages free of charge.”
Using antique machines, we demonstrate how we still make clogs in the same way as they were made a hundred years ago. This craftsmanship has been passed on to a new generation of clog makers who demonstrate their trade free of charge to our many visitors, preserving it for future generations. An interesting explanation is given in the visitor’s own language whenever possible, for example in Russian or Chinese. Of course we can also explain in Dutch! It continues to be a fascinating spectacle for young and old alike!
The free clog-making demonstrations and the clog museum are one of the biggest attractions at the Zaanse Schans.
Out of love for these wooden shoes, over the years Jaap Kooijman has built up one of the largest collections of clogs in the Netherlands. This has been no easy feat, as the vast majority of historic clogs have ended up as firewood.
“Out of love for these wooden shoes, over the years Jaap Kooijman has built up one of the largest collections of clogs in the Netherlands.”
As soon as you enter our clog museum you will immediately find an impressive collection of authentic clogs. You can find out more about this on our clog museum» page.
You can buy clogs in all shapes and sizes in our shop. They make unique, safe, and practical footwear or the perfect Dutch souvenir. Because one thing is certain: the clog is and will remain a national symbol of the Netherlands.