On April 16 2022, the Schoenenkwartier will open to the public in the west wing of the nationally listed Kropholler complex in Waalwijk, in the heart of Langstraat. Here, on a floor space of more than 3000 m2, a new museum will exhibit the history of shoes and leather as well as its future.

The Schoenenkwartier will come under three pillars: the Making Labs, the Knowledge Center and the Museum.
As a podium, workshop, study center and laboratory, the Schoenenkwartier will have an unique profile that requires not only admiration and learning, but also participation and awareness. This profile makes the Schoenenkwartier very attractive to young(er) generations.

A brandnew name, a brandnew concept
The predecessor of the Schoenenkwartier, the Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum in Waalwijk, was founded in 1954 and closed its doors to the public in 2017. The work continued. Museum activities such as conservation, digitization, research, knowledge promotion and loan traffic solidified the foundation for the comprehensive initiative that will start in 2022, with a brandnew name: Schoenenkwartier.
The word ‘kwartier’ (quarter) in this name refers to the new accommodation, the west wing of the Kropholler complex with its multiplicity of functions, its diversity of construction periods and its recent renovation by CIVIC Public Architecture. But it also refers to Waalwijk’s past as (inter)national headquarters for shoes and leather, and to the tradition of the city where buildings and institutions are named after elements from its history of shoe making.

Create, learn, meet and amaze
The strength of the Schoenenkwartier rests on three pillars: Schoenenlab (Shoe&Lab), Schoenenkennis (Shoe&Knowledge) and Schoenenmuseum (Shoe&Museum). It’s power is based on creating, learning, meeting and amazement. In the freely accessible entrance area on the ground floor, you will find the museum shop, the café and the Making Labs. Professional designers, shoemakers, leather workers, artists and craft students work on their designs in the various Labs. In a variety of workshops, visitors are invited to design, create and experiment themselves. In the museum shop you will find a wide range of custom products, ranging from books and souvenirs in the field of leather and shoes to tools, Dutch design and the Schoenenkwartier’s private label. In the museum part of the ground floor, the visitor imagines himself in a factory. There are machines on display and some of them are still working and being demonstrated. The entire production process of the shoe is visible and audible, from the first leather processing to the shoe box.

National and international allure
The Schoenenkwartier’s collection consists of Dutch masterpieces, supplemented with special designs and objects from other parts of the world. Shoes by Dutch designers Jan Jansen, Charles Bergmans, Lola Pagola, René van den Berg, Liesel Swart and Peter Popps will be on display. Van den Berg and Popps gave Dutch shoe production a world-class name thanks to stars as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. At the same time, the Schoenenkwartier distinguishes itself in the field of knowledge and research. Partnerships with national and international institutes relate to experiments with leather and alternatives to leather, and to new ideas for sustainability. As the new director of the Schoenenkwartier, Anouk van Heesch, puts it: “As a connecting link between craft and innovation, between industry and education and between heritage and contemporary design, the Schoenenkwartier aims to be an institution of national and international value and allure.”

Program 2022-2024
The Schoenenkwartier has put together a variable, accessible and informative program for the coming years. The emphasis is alternately on leather and shoes, on other applications of leather or on new technology. The starting point is the Schoenenkwartier‘s own collection, craft and specialism.

Open on 16 april 2022
Raadhuisplein 1
5141 KG Waalwijk
The Netherlands

New logo by The Invisible Party / Impression of the Schoenenkwartier Central Hall © Civic