A little bit of Holland in Michigan.

Windmills, street organs, clogs and Dutch dancing; no we haven't left the US. We are in Holland, Michigan the site of an 1847 settlement by Dutch Calvinists. The colonists set about creating a little bit of Holland in America. Today the town is home to Michigan's largest Hispanic population. However tulips, windmills and Dutch kitsch bring tourists so the town showcases its original heritage. The DeZwaan Windmill is the only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the US. In 1964 it was dismantled, shipped to Holland, Michigan and re-erected as the centre-piece of the Windmill Island living museum.

We just about did living museums to death years ago when our children were young. They are great as education and entertainment for adults and children alike and the US and Canada have some of the best. Now that we travel without the children we tend to give them a miss but Windmill Island was a good excuse to get off the bikes for a few hours.

We watched a group of costumed girls perform a traditional Dutch dance, wandered down a row of 'Dutch' houses, listened to a Dutch street organ and took a tour of the windmill. The young girl narrating the windmill tour brought the daily existence of the miller to life. I loved it and David tolerated it with better than the usual bad humour he reserves for tours. I think he might have even enjoyed it a little.

The Dutch dancing was pretty ordinary. Dancing in clogs did not look easy. Listening to the street organ was fun. We were able to walk around the back and see how it worked - very much like a pianola. Apparently the music rolls are very expensive. The music on the organ looked a bit like a large cardboard fold-out book imprinted with holes like the early computer punch cards. It opened out like a concertina as each page fed through the organ mechanism. 

The DeZwaan Windmill

A 'Dutch' street.

The street organ.

I didn't escape the cycling entirely. In the afternoon we cycled 27 miles along the Kal-Haven Trail Kal-Haven Trail at South Haven. We had hoped to get views of Lake Michigan but sadly almost all of the water front land is privately owned. We did get to see lots of magnificent houses though and the occasional water view.

Looking out across Lake Michigan - just like an ocean.

Water on tap on the trail.

A rail trail covered brdige.

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For the next post in this series click - here

For all my posts on this road trip click - here

10 July 2014


  1. Hi lyn

    the scenery looks amazing.. Your photographs make it look very tranquil ...loved the bits about tours perhaps simon and David should get together there...he is also not tour fan!

  2. Hi Fiona,

    lol - You're right the scenery around here is stunning. We have moved a little further north to Traverse City where the quaint little harbours and bays are just gorgeous.