shoe [noun] [de schoen, de schoenen] Iconspeaker_3

SchoenmakerijAlright, let’s brush up on your shoe vocabulary here! It turns out that there is a lot to say about shoes in Dutch!

Look at your shoe (if you are wearing one) and repeat after me: schoen ("shoe"), zool ("sole"), veters ("(shoe)laces") and hak ("heel"). Now do you need some "schoenpoets" ("shoe polish"), or are you wearing "sportschoenen" ("running shoes", "trainers" etc.)? Possibly even "sneakers" ("sneakers")? What about "sandalen" ("sandals"), or "laarzen" ("boots"). Or do you prefer to go about "blootsvoets" ("bare foot(ed)")? (Which I don’t recommend if you have "zweetkakkies" 🙂 )

Now let’s look at some Examples, and don’t forget the Expressions (of which only a few are listed. Check out the dictionary to find more!).

– "Ik kan mijn schoenen nergens vinden!"
("I can’t find my shoes anywhere!")

– "Morgenochtend heb ik een belangrijke presentatie dus ik moet mijn schoenen maar eens gaan poetsen."
("Tomorrow morning I have an important presentation so I guess I have to (go and) polish my shoes.")

– "Sinterklaas kapoentje, gooi wat in mijn schoentje…"
("Sinterklaas kapoentje, throw something in my shoe…" Line from children’s "Sinterklaas" song.)

– "Over het algemeen draag ik geen nette schoenen, alleen als het echt moet!"
("In general I do not wear dress shoes, only if absolutely necessary!")

– "Mevrouw, heeft u deze schoen in maat 42?"
("Miss/Madam, do you have this shoe in size 42?")

– "Laarzen, schoenen of sandalen, maakt niet uit, een ding is zeker: mijn vriendin heeft er te veel!"
("Boots, shoes or sandales, it doesn’t matter, one thing is for sure: my girlfriend has too many of them!" Note that here you have to write "te veel" and not "teveel", the latter being a noun: "surplus" ("het teveel"). By the way, this is done wrong by almost the entire Dutch population including journalists.)

– "Naast je schoenen lopen": literally "to walk next to your shoes", this says you’re to big for your boots (or full of conceit).
– "Stevig in je schoenen staan": to stand firm, to be sure of oneself.
– "Ik zou niet graag in zijn/haar schoenen willen staan": I wouldn’t like to be in his/her shoes.
– "Wie de schoen past, trekke hem aan": if the cap/shoe fits, wear it. Note that this is an example of the rare usage of the subjunctive in Dutch.
– "De stoute schoenen aantrekken": to do something that requires you to gather courage first, to pluck up one’s courage.

– "Weet je wat, ik trek de stoute schoenen aan, ik ga haar nu mee uit vragen."
("You know what, I’ll pluck up my courage, I’m going to ask her out right now.")

– "De schoen zetten": ‘to place/put your shoe’ this is the act of leaving your shoe somewhere hoping that Sinterklaas will leave you some candy (in your shoe).

Related words:
– (Schoen)veter: (shoe)lace [noun] [de veter, de veters].
– Laars: boot [noun] [de laarzen, de laarzen].
– Hak: heel [noun] [de hak, de hakken]. Note that in case of the heel of a foot, we say "hiel".
– Sandaal: sandal [noun] [de sandalen, de sandalen].
– Schoenen poetsen: to polish (shoes) [verb] [poetste, gepoetst].
– Schoenpoets: shoe polish [noun] [de schoenpoets, no plural].
– Schoenmaat: shoe size [noun] [de maat, de maten].
– Schoenlepel: shoehorn [noun] [de lepel, de lepels]. Note that a "lepel" is a spoon.
– Schoenenzaak: shoe shop/store [noun] [de zaak, de zaken].
Handschoen: glove.

When you need your shoes to be mended/repaired, you will have to find a "schoenmaker" ("shoemaker") or a "schoenmakerij" (the -ij indicates that it is a place ‘where shoes are made’). Nowadays, they don’t make shoes anymore so the common translation is that of a shoe repairman.
A "schoenmaker" is also typically the place where you’d go to have a copy made of a key.

Unfortunately there are not many traditional "schoenmakers" left and it can be difficult to find value for money. A bad example in this aspect is the "Hakkenbar" chain you will find in most bigger cities in the Netherlands. I only mention it here because the word itself is interesting: with a "hak" being the heel of the shoe, and "bar" the "bar" where you would hand over the shoes, this is an obvious choice of assonance.

2 thoughts on “Schoen

  1. What about the stereotypical Dutch shoe–the wooden clog? No mention of that?? 🙂
    Groetjes van de Verenigde Staten,

  2. Hey Chris, well, how could I not have thought of that! 🙂
    Actually, the name of the typical “wooden shoe” (still worn by some farmers) in Dutch is “klomp”. Which is so way off from “schoen” that it didn’t come to mind 😉

Comments are closed.