If you've ever wondered how those fashionable brogues adorning your feet are created, then a trip to the Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum might satisfy your curiosity.
The Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum was set up in the middle of the 20th century by a man called Antoon Hendriks, a teacher of shoemaking and collector from Waalwijk. In 1953 he put on an exhibition of his footwear, leather and fashion, and it was so well received that a group of industrialists set up the Waalwijk Museum Foundation to provide a permanent venue for Hendriks to show his collection.
The Shoe and Leather Industry Museum at the Kloosterwerf in Waalwijk opened it´s doors on July 31st 1954. The building was so small that hardly more than ten people could enter the exhibition space simultaneously! It wasn’t until 1960 that a more suitable space was found in a house that used to belong to leather manufacturer Witlox at the Grotestraat 148.
Soon this building also proved to be too small to accommodate the fast-growing collection. Numerous plans for expansion and relocation came and went before in 1983 the Waalwijk local councel provided the opportunity to rent the former Pinocchio shoe factory. At the same time the museum’s name was changed to the Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum.
The Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum is still very much alive and holds some very interesting exhibitions. Over the years Mr. Hendriks’ collection has been expanded with machinery from the tanning and shoe industry, gold leather, horse rigs and a wide array of miscellaneous leather related objects.