Klompen dancer at Tulip Time.
Holland Tulip Time Festival
Millions of tulips blooming in parks, gardens, and
lanes are seen by visitors from all over the world each spring in
the city of Holland. Originally imported from the Netherlands and
planted for civic beautification in 1928, the tulips are now a
major tourist attraction.
In response to the surge of annual visitors--more
than one million--the May festival has become a celebration of
Dutch traditions with three parades, 15 variety shows, arts and
crafts displays, and the high kicking
klompen dancers, who
wear wooden shoes.
Since Holland was founded in 1848 by a group of
religious dissenters from the Netherlands, the city has become
diverse with many ethnic groups, but its Dutch heritage remains the
most prevalent. The idea for the festival came from Lida Roger, a
high school teacher, in 1927. She envisioned a day set aside for a
celebration and suggested that tulips be planted as a civic
beautification project. In 1928, the city council appropriated
funds to purchase 100,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands. Bulbs
were planted in city parks and spaces, and residents could purchase
them for one cent a piece. Called Tulip Time, the one day
celebration had become a nine-day festival by 1933. That same year,
a high school gym teacher, Ethel Perry, trained twelve Dutch
Villagers, later known as
Klompen Dancers, to perform
Dutch folk dances. By year 2000, the number of
Klompen Dancers, who wear authentic Dutch costumes, had grown to more than
1,400 dancers with several mother/daughter partners.
Tulip Time Festival begins on the Thursday prior to
Mother's Day. On the festival's first day and in "Dutch clean"
tradition, the town crier, along with the city mayor and council,
inspect the streets and declare them dirty, and order them scrubbed
for the many visitors who are coming to the festival. A ceremonial
scrubbing ensues, with hundreds of costumed townsfolk and the state
governor taking to the streets with brushes and willow brooms, some
carrying pails of water on shoulder yokes, along a two-mile parade
Documentation includes a legacy report, 19 slides,
photographs, a booklet on
klompen dancers, festival
operation booklets; volunteer booklets; other festival instructions
and training literature; programs, wooden shoes, a
klompen costume, Dutch pottery, festival notecards, and a video.
Originally submitted by: Carl Levin, Senator.
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.