Monday, May 13, 2013

Dutch Village, Holland, MI

After seeing "Big Red" Lighthouse, we drove a short distance to Nelis' Dutch Village, where we had the opportunity to step back in time to the Netherlands of 100 years ago.

Gatehouse and Attendant

On the other side of this castle-like arch, a charming Dutch village awaited us.

The bell tower where we purchased our tickets to tour the village. 

The carillon, comprised of 25 bells, plays on the hour and half hour.

Inside the village.

When people think of Holland they think of windmills, wooden shoes and tulips, and Dutch Village has all three... heavy on the tulips!  You can never have too many tulips - especially at festival time!

The lady below works in the bell tower.  All employees dress in Dutch costume.  The flags behind her are the flags of the 12 Netherland provinces.

Jerry by a fisherman statue.

Front and back of a functional 1880's Street Organ

A punched hole "songbook" for the organ.  This song was the "Rose Marie Polka."

Sinterklaas [the Dutch and Belgian Santa Claus] inside the Kolean Museum.

Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands from April 30, 1980 to April 30, 2013, just recently abdicated to her son, Willem-Alexander.  He is the first King to rule in 123 years.  Princess Beatrix [as she is now called] has visited Holland, Michign, and the Dutch Village.

Since her son had only been King six days when we visited Dutch Village, the sign below hadn't been updated yet.  I took a picture of it because it states Queen Beatrix is a descendant of the House of Orange, which has a significant role in  tea history.  

Many good articles have been written about Orange Pekoe tea.  Norwood Pratt has written one for Tea Muse, entitled, "The Dutch Invent 'Orange Pekoe'" which can be read at Adagio Teas website.

The Dutch were second to none in seamanship and commerce, and formed the East India Company before rival companies were established.  Of all the companies, the Dutch company was the most prosperous throughout the 1600's, with a fleet of 150 trading ships, and over 50,000 civilian employees.

When the East India Company first began importing tea from China in the early 1600's, it is speculated that the highest quality teas brought to Holland were marked "Orange" and presented to the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange.  Two explanations for Pekoe have been offered:  [1] A root corruption of Bai Hao, the Chinese words for white tip, referring to the unfurled leaf bud covered with white down. [2] A corruption of Kuo P'o' the Chinese words for silver-haired, also referring to very young tea leaves covered with a silvery down. Either explanation denotes a superior, delicate tea. The early Dutch traders brilliantly began promoting teas of this type as Orange Pekoe possibly suggesting a royal warrant, or using the royal House of Orange as an honorific means of identifying a quality tea.

Today, Orange Pekoe [OP], denotes a fine quality black tea.  It is a Western tea trade term describing the highest grade of new flush tea leaves [the top two tea leaves and an unfurled leaf bud] that are whole and unbroken.

Dutch Village was established in 1958, and this sign from that time period is displayed in the museum.

That's Jerry and me in the face cut-outs of the Dutch couple.

The two photos below are replicas of a Frisian Farmhouse and Barn.  The house is attached directly to the barn, because the body heat from the barn animals helped to heat the house. Yikes!  Can you imagine what the house smelled like?  ;-)

Dutch farmhouses typically consisted of just two rooms.  One room was occupied by the family's grandparents, while the other room housed the grandparents' eldest son and his family.  This way three generations lived and worked under one roof.  At different times of the day, these two rooms served as kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms and studies.

The eldest son's room [from two different angles].

And the grandparents' room.

The built-in beds [with straw mattresses] separated the two rooms. The children climbed the ladder to sleep in the attic.  The grandparents' bed is separated from the son and daughter-in-law's bed by only a thin wooden divider.  The costumed guide said you couldn't complain about your in-laws when you went to bed at night or they'd hear you! ;-)

They sell wooden Dutch clogs [or Klomps] at the Dutch Village, and there are carving demonstrations.  Interestingly, the shoes are made of soft poplar wood, to conform to the foot of the wearer over time.  I asked one of the gift shop ladies how many pairs of socks she had to wear to be comfortable in the clogs.  She said she typically wears three pair of socks, but the klompen dancers wear anywhere from seven to ten pair of socks for a snug fit while dancing - but even then a clog has been know to fly off!  ;-)

At 1:00 o'clock there was Dutch Klompen Dancing at the Amsterdam Street organ, and Jerry and I were among the spectators.  The group we watched happened to be a group of female seniors, and they were quite impressive.

A Dutch Village wouldn't be complete without a windmill!

Before leaving the Village, we stopped in the gift shop.  The DeWit hand-painted Delftware was beautiful.  The thought running through my mind was, "I'll take one of each please!"  ;-)

Obviously, that wasn't possible, but here's what hubby did buy for me:  A tea caddy [with backstamp pictured below]...

A teapot...

A box of Dutch tea...

A pair of miniature hand-painted wooden Klomps

And at an antique mall adjacent to Dutch Village, a teacup...

And a demitasse spoon with a windmill at the top that actually turns.

He was very generous, wasn't he? ;-)

Tomorrow's post will be our visit to Windmill Island.


  1. What a fun place to visit! I enjoyed they virtual tier through your pictures. Love your souvenirs, too.

  2. What a lovely visit and the gifts were generous indeed.

  3. Your trip sounds wonderful and the gifts are beautiful.

  4. Such a wonderful visit! I really enjoyed reading ALL of your post! It was interesting to see pictures of Dutch homes --- as I remember learning about them as a schoolgirl.

    I like your new tea treasures. I have a matching pair of Blue Delft shoes --- which were a gift to me after my son and his wife honeymooned in Amsterdam.

    Thank you for sharing!
    Gracious Hospitality

  5. What a wonderful time--now I want to go! I had no idea there was such a place in Michigan, and I would have been pleased simply with all those gorgeous tulips. But all the windmills, and clogs and fun foods ... and that gift shop, oh my. Your husband's treats were *exceedingly* generous, too. Love that you even found an antique teacup with a windmill on it along with your other wonderful souvenirs of the trip!

  6. Oh I can see you have had a wonderful mini vacation! I am so happy for you! The tulips are beautiful and it looks like the weather was nice! You found wonderful tea items, enough for a tea party! Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

  7. Perfect souvenirs! I particularly love the tea cup and the tea caddy! and I don't believe I've ever seen a windmill teapot! Fun!

  8. What fun! Love the windmills and the canal, and your souvenirs,especially the teacup and demitasse spoon. This reminds me of Pella - such fun!


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