How I wish to be able to visit Europe! But alas, the borders are closed to Americans AND Nigerians. Talk about a double whammy for me! So as I continue to travel locally, I decided to add Holland, Michigan to my lists of destinations. As you may or may not know, I lived in the real Holland, The Netherlands, when I was younger. I have very fond memories of the country. And I have always planned to go back as an adult. But when I heard that there was a place called Holland in Michigan with TULIPS AND A WINDMILL, I just had to go see for myself.
My initial plan was to visit in May during tulip season. Unfortunately, due to the spread of Covid-19 and strict stay at home orders, I had departed to Atlanta to be with my family. Michigan eventually sort of opened up, and I returned. Because summer in Michigan is wonderful, I am making an effort to really travel up and around the Great Lakes coast of the state, hitting a new location every other weekend. Last weekend on a trip to Grand Haven for a beach getaway, I decided to add a quick stop in Holland. I actually spent the night at an Airbnb in Grand Rapids, but spent the first day in Grand Haven and then the second in Holland. Holland is about 30 minutes from Grand Rapids.
It was a short stay especially seeing as the tulips were gone. My only other interest was the small dutch village with the windmill. Now, I’m not sure if it was because it was a Sunday or because of the pandemic, but compared to Grand Haven, Holland was quite dead. The roads were empty, the air was quiet. This isn’t me complaining. It made for a very comfortable visit to the dutch village. It was incredibly easy to maintain way more than the minimum distance from people.
The dutch village is basically a park. It costs five dollars to enter. When you enter, you’ll be greeted by a woman in traditional old dutch attire. This time during a pandemic she’ll be wearing a mask because of the airborne virus. While it’s not a requirement for guests to wear masks, it is mandatory when entering the building in which the restroom is located. To the left is small building with a old but automated dutch organ playing fair tunes. As you walk passed it, you’ll greeted by an array of flags representing the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. Then comes the canal (a staple in the Netherlands) with an accompanying draw bridge. One can actually kayak down the water.
A short stroll to the right after crossing the bridge is the “village” as seen in one of the pictures above. And a stroll to the left is the famous traditional windmill actually brought over from Noord Brabant, the Netherlands in 1964. The mill itself was built in 1884. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, we were not able to tour the structure. It was still a lovely sight to see.
They went all out with the establishment of the park, an ode to the city’s dutch heritage. While I did enjoy the short visit to Holland, I was a tad underwhelmed. I missed seeing the tulips, not that tulips are a year round sight in the Netherlands. It’s my favorite flower because it reminds me of one of the best times of my life. Maybe if they had a little cafe on the grounds of the village that sold dutch snacks and sweets, I would’ve felt better. I guess I was also comparing the area to the Bavarian towns of America, like Helen or Frankenmuth (a city in Michigan that is on my list) that are bigger with more German buildings and activities. The village just felt like a small amusement park.
I will attempt to make another return next spring to see the tulips in bloom. Although I do feel like in 2021, I will be more inclined to focus on travelling out of the Midwest and out of the country. But until then, on to the next Michigan trip.