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Zeeland Cultural Delegation Visits West-Michigan

Tue, Oct 1 - Fri, Oct 4  2019

The cultural delegation, consisting of representatives of the Zeeuws Museum, the Zeeuws Archief, the ZB (Research Institute and Library of Zeeland) and the Province of Zeeland, met with their counterparts in West-Michigan, to exchange knowledge and information and explore collaborations. The delegates visited the Holland Museum, the Joint Archives and the A.C. Van Raalte Institute, the Kruizenga Art Museum, the Van Wylen Library, and the Windmill Island Gardens, where they also met with representatives of the organization of the Tulip Time Festival. In the city of Zeeland they visited the Howard Miller Library, the Dekker House museum and spoke with volunteers of the Zeeland Historical Society. Finally they went to Grand Rapids and visited the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Mary Idema Pew Library of the Grand Valley State University and Heritage Hall at Calvin University. The delegation made new contacts and agreements on collaborations in exchange of knowledge and connecting their collections.

The Midwest still has a strong Dutch presence today. In the 1840s, a group of Dutch members from a particular clerical denomination, called De Afscheiding (The Secession) migrated from the Netherlands to the United States under the religious leadership of reverends Albertus Christiaan Van Raalte and Hendrik Pieter Scholte. These “seceders” did not agree with the state-supported Dutch Reformed Church and therefore separated from the Church in 1834 to create a new religious community. The appeal to move to the U.S. was the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom, most notably of religion. Van Raalte founded the city of Holland, Michigan, and Scholte founded the city of Pella, Iowa. Most of the Dutch migrating to the Midwest came from the provinces of Zeeland, Friesland and Groningen. Many places in the Midwest are still influenced by the Reformed Church and maintain some typical Dutch traditions today, such as Tulip Time Festivals, languages, family names and a notable character of directness, hard work and entrepreneurship.


DutchCulture USA