Thursday, July 30, 2015

Holland Michigan

It has been many years since we have been to Holland, Michigan.  We had never made it there during Tulip Time in all the years we lived there but our trip today was equally as beautiful with summer flowers.

This is a drawbridge over a canal symbolic of those found in the Netherlands.

Our destination was Windmill Gardens, home to DeZwaan (The Swan) windmill.  It was brought from the Netherlands in the early 60s and reconstructed on a brick base to raise it above the trees to catch the wind.

First up was a film on the history of this windmill including it being under fire during WWII.  Bullet holes are still visible on some parts.  We like informative videos when we first arrive places because it sets the tone for the rest of the visit.  

Next up was a visit to the street organ, De Vier Kolommen (The Four Columns) given as a gift to the city of Holłand from the city of Amsterdam in gratitude for the role of the United States in liberating The Netherlands in WWII.

It is played using a flip book that looks much like the player piano rolls with the holes punched in them. It played In The Good Old Summertime and Tennessee Waltz.

We then headed toward the Windmill to watch the Klompen dancers.  I remember all the school children dancers in the street parades during Tulip Time on TV, in the newspaper and travel magazines.  The whole city gets involved.  

After the dance, the six dancers all explained their outfits and what it said about them.  Shorter skirts and pants indicated fishermen/women, mixed patterns indicated clothes had been made from scraps.  Buttons, lace or cording spoke of a degree of wealth.  I found that all very interesting.

Eileen and I tried to roll hoops with sticks but we didn't get very far.

Next was our tour of the windmill.  It is an engineering marvel.  Windmills could pump water into canals and create farmland.  The power could turn it into a sawmill, grist mill, papermaker, etc.  If you designed a machine to do all these things today, you would be 1000 years too late.  We walked up six levels to learn the process of grinding grain.  There is a lady miller who went to The Netherlands to be trained and we saw her milling for the tour behind us on the way down.  It was a great and informative tour.

On our way out we stopped to look at the children's carousel boasting beautifully painted windmills.

Our last stop was at the Delft dishware and Wooden Shoe factory.  Ladies were painting the Delft dishes but there was no shoemaker there today.  Ted looked for a pair of shoes.

We leave tomorrow for Marshall, MI where we will spend our last two nights in Michigan.  Sunday morning we head to Howe, IN to the Mobile Suite factory.  The Mills continue on to Decatur, IN to the  Fleetwood factory.  Of course they have a bit more to repair than originally planned!

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