This is what most people really come to Holland for. Its a very small amusement park with a kind of Dutch tulip and wooden shoe theme. Of the more interesting things to do are feeding the goats and looking at the exhibits. I did find some of the things they set up to be educational, though not what I would call enlightening. The exhibits tend to be about cheesemaking and tulip farming, with a few other things like a weighing house and some souvenier shops. Among the more notable shops is a cheese shop I found a bit pricy, but there is also a Belgian chocolate shop (imported chocolates) which I thought to be a pretty good deal and quality. Lace wasn't cheap but seemed to be of very good quality. Entry is $8 for adults, $5 for children. See my travelogue for more.
-Tulip time festival: from beginning to mid. of May each year .
-Dutch village .
-Windmill Island .
-Veldheer's Tulip Gardens, DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory.
-Hope College Organ Recitals .
-Ottawa lake .
In this picture is DUTCH DRAWBRIDGE ,the scene surrounding the 200 yr old ,one of famous place you should see .
Windmill Island is an attraction in Holland. It has recreations of Dutch buildings such as an orphanage and old inn. It also has an Amsterdam street organ built in 1928. There are also thousands of tulips here for the tulip festival but the main attraction is an authentic Dutch windmill. I took a photo of the windmill from across beds of tulips. From here you have no idea just how big a windmill really is. We walked up to it for our tour and were amazed. It's as tall as a 12-story building. Wildmills were used to power saws that cut lumber as well as turning grain into flour as this one does. Our tour took us up 5 stories in the windmill where we could see the grinding area and look out at the huge blades which each weigh 6,600 pounds! This windmill was brought here in 1964 and was the last windmill to leave the Netherlands because it's now illegal to sell them since they are considered national monuments. The position of the blades indicated to the people in the countryside whether the miller was there and grinding the grain. A + shape indicated he was there and an X shape indicated he was not. Shutters on the blades could be closed to catch more wind and they could also add sails on the blades.
We were looking around in an attraction called Dutch Village. There are 2 parts to this attraction. The main attraction charges $9 entrance fee and is more for children. But there is an area of shops here that you can visit for free. We went into a candle shop and were fascinated by how beautiful wedding candles were being made. The owner of the shop was making a candle. First she dipped the candle form into different colors of wax 35 times in a certain order. Then while it was still warm, she began to carve into the wax. As she did that, it curled back revealing the different layers of colors. She told us that she had to carve the candle in 15 minutes while the wax was still warm. These weddish candles cost $40. You can see finished ones on the shelf behind her in the photo I took.
One of the activities held during the Tulip Festival is the Queen's Cavalerie Skill at Arms Competition. It is held at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. This exciting event shows exercises historically used to train soldiers for battle. The Queen's Cavalerie is from the Netherlands. There were also the U.S. Army Blue Devils Horse platoon and the British Army competing. We arrived early and watched them getting the horses ready for the competition. It began with a color guard and then the competition. A small white board is placed in the dirt. The rider on the horse has a long lance. The horse had to run at full gallop toward the board while the rider leans down with the lance and spears the board. Points are given for hitting the board. More points are given for spearing the board and even more if the rider could carry away the board on the lance. Each rider had 3 runs. Some of the horses didn't get the rider anywhere near the board. Others were excellent and allowed the rider to spear the board. As the last ride, the commander did a demonstraton which involved having his wife hold the small white board and he galloped at her and speared it with the lance. What a brave woman. After the competition we watched them bathing the horses with hoses and were able to talk to some of them. We found out that a horse from London had never been in this competition before. He's in the Queen's Guard that does the parades with the Queen. So no wonder that some didn't do that well.
Holland State Park is on Lake Michigan. We were here in early May so it was windy and cold. You can walk along the lake shore which feels very much like the ocean beach. Ring-billed and Herring Gulls are here. This is where a channel comes out from Lake Macatawa. A little red lighthouse sits across the channel from the park. In 1849 the residents of Holland petitioned Congress to make a channel from the lake to Lake Michigan but it was refused so the people of Holland eventually dug this channel themselves with picks and shovels. It was quite an undertaking but they finished it and a steamboat put into port here from Lk Michigan in 1859. By 1899 it was a big harbor. The first lighthouse was put here in 1872. In 1907 the current one was built. The gable roof reflects the Dutch influence. It was abandoned in 1970 but the citizens rescued it and today it remains a landmark of Holland. Cost of the park is 8 dollars for each vehicle.
This 240 year old Dutch windmill is really the centerpiece of the island. It was dismantled in the Netherlands and painstakingly re-assemble on this site. Costumed guides give tours to explain the history and workings of this windmill, then perform Dutch folk dances in front of the structure.
See my Windmill Island Travelogue for additional photos.
This church is at the corner of 9th and College Streets. It replaced a log cabin church built when the town was settled in 1847. It was built in 1956 by the founder of Holland, Albertus Van Raalte. It's the Greek revival style with post and beam construction like a barn. There is not a cross on the steeple as on many churches. Instead there is a copper rooster which symbolizes Peter's denial of Christ. It's commonly found on Calvinist churches in the Netherlands. The church had tours with a talk about the history during Tulip Time. They also had one authentic Dutch church service during the week. It was in the Dutch language with an English translation provided. Usually the worship service used to last from 2-3 hours but this one was only 35 minutes. One thing I found interesting too was that the church service here was done in the Dutch language until 1911.
One of the activities for Tulip Time were organ recitals performed by a variety of artists at Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Hope College Campus. This beautiful old church has 2 pipe organs. The large one (the Chancel Organ) in front was installed in 1929. The other one (the Gallery Organ) in the back was installed in 1970. Organ study is available to all students at this college no matter what their major. Organ study has always been very important here. The college has invited guest performers of international status for many years. They not only perform but also teach here. Our recital was by Peter Kurdziel who has a degree in organ from Hope college but also went to Notre Dame. He is now Director of Music Ministries at Saint Robert of Newminster Parish in Ada, MI. The recital was excellent and was on the Gallery organ in the back.
There are 2 historic old houses in Holland. One of them is the Settler's House which is a very small 1867 example of an early working class house. It only has 3 rooms but they are furnished in period furnishings that give a glimpse of life for the blue collar worker back in that time. Just down the street from this modest house is the Cappon House from 1873. This was the mayor's house and is very large and ornate. The original furnishings help to show life for the wealthy back at that time. It cost $10,000 which was a lot back then. Both houses have a guide who takes you through the houses and points out things which makes it very interesting. For one thing, in the mayor's house, the expensive furnishings were in the downstairs rooms for show. The parlor is very Victorian. The reason so many of the furnishings survived is that one of the 16 children (a daughter) didn't ever marry and lived in this house and kept it up until her death. Then it became a historic site. They even have the original wallpaper which has been duplicated from traces still on the walls.
You can buy a combination ticket for the museum and the 2 houses. In 2007 when we visited, it was $12.
The Dutch are known for their cleanliness. During Tulip Time there are 2 different parades on different days. Before the parade, there is a White Glove Ceremony in which the mayor comes out with white gloves on, rubs the street with them and declares that it is dirty and must be cleaned. So then a large number of adults and children , dressed in authentic Dutch clothing and wooden shoes, comes down the street with brooms and buckets of water to pour on the streets to clean them. Most of the water ended up on the streets but some was thrown at another person and as the street scrubbers advanced to the end of the parade route, the foolishness increased. We had found a place along the parade route and sat on our jackets. Most of the residents had lawn chairs. You also could rent a space in the bleachers for $4 to view both the screet scrubbing and the parade.
The Volksparade is the parade held in the middle of the week. There is another one at the end of the festival on Saturday. We chose to go to this one mid-week. We sat on the curb on our jackets and watched it pass by. There were lots of local bands, flag dancers, town criers, Klompen dancers, many floats with things like windmills, tulips and cows, The Queen's Calvary, Dutch flags, Therapy dogs, and even someone dressed as Abe Lincoln. It lasts about 2 hours. I was amazed how many of the parade members were wearing wooden shoes. I can't imagine walking that far in wooden shoes.
The Holland Museum is a good place to find out all about the history of Holland. The Dutch arrived in 1847. We learned there was a big public market where the park is now. There were photos of the devastating fire of 1871 which we had learned spared Pillar Church and Hope College. We also learned that in the 15th century a relationship between Italy and Flanders resulted in the Delft tiles that are now the hallmark of Holland. When we were there the Dutch ambassador was here touring the Dutch painting gallery which just opened. We came back to see it later. It has Dutch art from as early as the 15th century. I especially liked several which are of tulips.
We had learned about Delftware at the museum. Delft tiles came from Italy. But then the Dutch copied Chinese blue and white ware but they didn't have the kaolin for the glaze the Chinese used so they used tin (white) for the underglaze. Because of this their blue is not as dark as the Chinese. And so the famous Dutch Delftware was formed. There are a lot of shops in Holland where you can shop for this. Also, several places show you how it is made and you can watch it being painted at Veldheer Delft Factory.
We saw wooden shoes everywhere in Holland. When we went out to the Veldheer Tulip Farm, we went in the Deklomp Wooden Shoe Factory where we could stand at a glass window and watch wooden shoes being carved by a large machine. It was quite incredible. We also found out from some of the locals that when they wear these wooden shoes, they also wear 4-5 pairs of socks to cushion their feet so it makes them look like they have huge ankles and feet. There were many places in Holland where you could buy wooden shoes.