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Dutch Culture lives in Holland, Michigan

Authentic Dutch Culture in Holland, Michigan

 © Becky Linhardt

 No need to book a flight to see beautiful tulips in bloom in the spring or gorgeous gardens in the summer and experience Dutch culture.  The group of early settlers from the Netherlands left more than the name Holland to remind people of the land they left behind to found a “Dutch Kolonie” near the shores of Lake Michigan in 1846.

 Many of the surviving downtown buildings follow the distinctive Dutch architectural styles and finely detailed craftsmanship of their homeland.  You can immerse yourself in Dutch culture at the Graafschap Heritage Center and enjoy the rich flavors/foods at Dutch Brothers Restaurant and deBoer Bakkerij – plan to pick-up heavenly, buttery baked goods for later.

 The Dutch love their beers and Holland, Michigan now has its own microbrewery, New Holland Brewing Company.  The beers range fro light to very heavy dark beers.  This summer the brewery[‘s  new 21 foot wide European design Nana-wall should be in place, allowing them to open the whole 8th Street side to their sidewalk tables and view of the flames of the fire sculpture in the park across the street at 8th and College Streets. 

 Extensive displays of tulips color the 36-acres of Windmill Island in May at Tulip Time and then colorful annuals mass in the gardens during the summer.  The property includes the Little Netherlands Museum, an antique Dutch carousel you can ride, and a street of fine brick buildings in true Dutch architectural style including a replica of a 226-year old Dutch Inn.  Walking on the paths that connect the inn to “DeZwaan” at the center of the island, visitors stroll alongside a canal and cross a typical Dutch footbridge.  The 240-year old “DeZwaan”, cq the only historic Dutch windmill in the United States, is tended by their enthusiastic miller, Alisa Crawford, who trained in the Netherlands and is the only female certified master miller.

Other attractions that you can visit year-round include: DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory that boasts of being the only Delftware Factory in the United States; The Dutch Village that has recreated a 1800s Netherlands town with Dutch architecture, canals, farm animals and activities; and historical buildings such as the Cappon cq House & Settler’s Home provide a glimpse of the early Dutch settlement of the town. 

Recently the Holland, Michigan area was recognized by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index as the #2 happiest place to live in America — right between #1 Boulder, Colorado and #3 Honolulu, Hawaii.  It’s a happy place to visit too with free summer concerts in Holland’s vibrant downtown, a great lighthouse and state park on the beach, and plenty of good food, great beer, and Dutch history year-round.

 Accommodations and other attractions: 800-506-1299 or www.holland.org

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.

 

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