Large numbers of Dutch farmers began immigrating to America in the early 19th century, driven by high taxes and low wages. Many settled in the Midwest, especially West Michigan. A wave of Calvinist immigrants desiring more religious freedom soon joined them. This area has been associated with Dutch American culture and heritage ever since.
Explore our Dutch influence:
DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory. This is the only North American production facility for world-famous Delft pottery and one of few using authentic Dutch machinery to produce wooden shoes. It's also the site of Veldheer Tulip Gardens, America's largest bulb production facility. The gift shop has one of the largest selections of tulip bulbs in the country.
Nelis' Dutch Village. Step back into the Netherlands of more than 100 years ago, complete with authentic Dutch architecture, flowering gardens, canals and windmills. Includes kids' rides, animals, a wooden shoe factory and much more.
Tulip Time. Reader's Digest named this annual May festival the "Best Small Town Festival". It includes parades, shows, concerts, a carnival, fireworks and millions of tulips in bloom.
Windmill Island Gardens. This beautiful oasis on the edge of downtown Holland features a 250 year-old working Dutch windmill as well as a replica of a 14th-century wayside inn, an antique Dutch carousel and acres of manicured gardens. And of course, in the spring thousands of tulips adorn the area!
The unique character of Grand Rapids is largely shaped by its European settlers. Thousands of Dutch immigrants came to West Michigan beginning in the 1800s, leaving behind a legacy of Dutch American culture that is still prevalent today.