Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Amsterdam - Making Clog Experience in Marken

Date: 12th October 2015

We visited the Wooden Shoe Factory in Marken which is actually located next to the parking lot. Since we were coming from Volendam, we had to walk for 5 minute walk from the harbour to reach this place. But the walk was what I treasured the most. We were passing by a beautiful Dutch houses (mostly all in green coloured building with its beautiful gardens. I had to grab Anne’s camera for me to indulge snapping the flowers from the local’s garden. You may refer to my earlier entry, "lovely garden in Marken".

Marken is a village with a population of 1,810 in the municipality of Waterland in the province of North Holland in Netherlands. Marken forms a peninsula in the Markermeer and was formerly an island in the Zuiderzee. The characteristic wooden houses of Marken are a tourist attraction. In 2012, Marken had a population of 1,810 and a population density of 679/km2.

Marken harbour

Marken fishing village
For some time during the later 19th and early 20th centuries, Marken and its inhabitants were the focus of considerable attention by folklorists, ethnographers and physical anthropologists, who regarded the small fishing town as a relic of the traditional native culture that was destined to disappear as the modernization of the Netherlands gained pace. Among them was Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who examined a skull from the island of humans which he called Batavus genuineness; and was the Belgian painter Xavier Mellery who stayed in Marken at the request of Decoster. Mellery was asked to perform illustrative work and delivered several minimalist works.

The projects of Cornelis Lely was to incorporated the island into the markerwaard. The dike, built in 1941 in the north, is the first phase of that project which was stopped by the war. In 1983, the Marker Museum about the history of the island was opened. Marken was a separate municipality until 1991, when it was merged into Waterland.

I would say that the Tours & Tickets has brought us to the famous place, where you can refer here in the website, "The Clog Experience". We get to see how a local traditional clog maker, who has given us his enthusiastic demonstration of how a simple block of wood can be transformed into a wooden shoe within minutes. You may see him in below photo surrounded by the tourists that visited him that day. Therefore, when a tourist visited the former island of Marken, then they should visit this wooden shoe factory where they make clogs following their 100 years old tradition.

This place has obtained a museum status. For those who are interested may get the opportunity to learn something about this old Dutch profession by paying attentive to the whole process of making clogs. Apparently there’s a lot of history about different national and international wooden shoes that were on displays including the nicest and most special shoes of all, i.e. the wedding shoes from Marken. Glance through some of the photos that I'm sharing here with you.

The museum has arranged a wooden shoe demonstrations daily for their visitors. This place can host groups of up to 100 people. Accordingly, it’s definitely worth visiting them and learning something about this old Dutch profession. Should you wish to experience wearing the shoes, they are most welcome you to try them on and find out whether they are comfortable or not to wear. I was too lazy to open my boots, hence, I pass by that chance to put them on my foot. Please also take note that there is no entrance fee charged to enter.

While other tourist were concentrating on the briefing, I had my own way of exploring the shop and suddenly realise that it smells very nice as a lady in below photo was apparently making a Syrup waffles. They provided a small space for her to freshly bake the waffles and serve them to the tourist. I did not try them. You may find other souvenirs in this shop other than the wooden clog, i.e. it is not all about wooden shoes in here beside their special served waffle. They have a beautiful line of gifts and presents should you wish to bring back to your love ones. For the record, I did not buy any ‘komplen’ or wooden clog, rather a fridge magnet clog miniature was what I brought home.

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