Aerial View Of Tulip Flower Fields Amsterdam The Netherlands First Stop to the Tulips Time Festival in Holland – Windmill Island

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First Stop to the Tulips Time Festival in Holland – Windmill Island

The Orchestra Parade (or Muzikparade) in Holland made an even more remarkable impression on me and my friends than our visit to the Dutch Village of Nellis and Windmill Island in Holland. Having lived in big cities, we might have expected more entertainment than what the tourists had to offer; But still, we had a great time and enjoyed every moment visiting the Dutch Village Netherlands and the Authentic Windmill.

I’ve been to Holland, Michigan before, but that was a long time ago, so I’m glad to go back – especially in these tough economic times when it’s hard to travel far from home. This time it was worth the three hour trip to Holland for a mini-vacation.

It was the final day of the Tulips Time Festival with a major music parade. This festival is for people who love flowers and enjoy watching dancing in wooden shoes. Despite an unusually windy, rainy day, we started off with a visit to Windmill Island. The parade was scheduled to start at two in the afternoon, so we had plenty of time on Windmill Island.

We walked past rows of vintage old-style Dutch storefronts, like you’d see in Amsterdam, and a replica of a Dutch bridge over a canal leading to tulip fields and an actual windmill. A guided windmill tour is offered during the Tulip Festival. Surprisingly, we had to wait in line for a while to be able to enter “De Zwaan”, a 248-year-old working Dutch windmill. The windmill’s name is Dutch for “the swan” or “graceful bird”. It is the only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the United States.

The story of this remarkable windmill’s arrival in the United States is quite interesting. Holland, Michigan residents Willard Wichers and Carter Brown were looking for a way to pay homage to the town’s Dutch heritage, so they started a project to bring Dutch windmills to the United States. However, many windmills were severely damaged during World War II and the Dutch government banned the sale of windmills outside the Netherlands.

Witchers and his group were able to get a reprieve by choosing a heavily damaged mill known as De Zwan. In 1961, Dutch businessman Carter Brown relocated an authentic windmill from the Netherlands as a monument to the city’s Dutch heritage. As a result of the efforts of Wichers and Brown, in October 1964, de Zwaan came to the USA. After the mill was destroyed, it took about six months to rebuild it.

The tour of the windmill was guided by a local old woman dressed in Dutch costume. Her description caught our attention. Each of the five floors has a different story. We spent a few minutes on the observation balcony enjoying a nice peaceful view of the park and the colorful tulip fields below. According to the agreement, Windmill Island still operates the windmill at least one day a year and still grinds flour and bags, and the flour is sold quickly.

In addition, we visited the Posthouse Museum (a replica of a fourteenth-century wayside inn), where we saw a reproduction of a Dutch house room. Windmill Island has beautiful gardens with about 150,000 tulips in bloom, including even the “Queen Night,” the black tulip. We saw a very nice diorama of a Dutch village in a storefront. Also, there was an antique carousel with handmade wooden horses and a working antique Amsterdam street organ. We finished our tour by visiting souvenir shops and buying unique gifts to remember our visit to Windmill Island. We also stopped by a small greenhouse.

After visiting Windmill Island, we were excited to go to the last of the three Tulip Time Festival Parades in Holland, Michigan. We were lucky enough to find a place to park the car across from the local TV station that was recording this remarkable event and a great place to watch the parade.

©Rachel Madorsky

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