As chairman of the heritage association Dye van Best, Harrie van Vroenhoven is of course very interested in the history of Best. He is committed to keeping that history alive so the younger people keep connected to it.
The clog industry is, of course, an unmistakable part of Best’s history and that’s how Harrie decided to contact Harrie van der Velden. Harrie van der Velden grandfather founded the clog factory in Best in 1921. The two Harrie’s thought it would be nice if somewhere in Best, preferably where you enter the village, a big clog would welcome visitors.
And that has now been arranged! It will become a large plastic clog of 1.85 m, a copy of the original, wooden family clog belonging to the Van der Velden family. Harrie van der Velden donates the clog and pedestal to the municipality of Best, as a tribute to his grandfather as well as the clog industry in Best.
Clogs are usually made of poplars, because that wood is easy to work with. The giant wooden shoe is therefore placed, very appropriately, near the 7 poplars at the roundabout at the Oirschotseweg, 25 meters from the former factory complex. The municipality of Best will add a bench and an information board.
Harrie van der Velden still remembers how he walked around the clog factory, when he was just a youngster. He was really proud his grandfather and father ran such a big factory. “Spectacular things went on there” he says. “Especially when you are just a little boy! Large trucks loaded with trees drove on and on and sometimes I was allowed to take a seat in such a truck. I also remember there was a huge steam boiler in the factory.”
That clog factory of Harrie’s grandfather was the largest in the Netherlands, as many as 100 people worked there while other factories employed only 40. “We were the third largest employer in Best,” recalls Harrie. “After the Bata and Tricotbest.” Grandpa Van der Velden worked in the factory together with his two sons, one of them was Harrie’s father.