That’s a phase I’ve heard more than once living in an area that is highly populated by Dutch people. So we decided to learn about all things Dutch in Holland, Michigan with a visit to the Nelis’ Dutch Village. I got a great deal from groupon and had an extra one for my friends to use when they came in town. I had driven by the Dutch theme park several times and was a little curious what attractions you could really offer at a mini cultural theme park.
We were greeted at the front desk by a friendly young person dressed in a native Dutch costume, who gave us the lay of the land along with times for shows that day. One of the first attractions our kids wanted to try was the slide shaped like a wooden shoe.
Walking around the area of the park you notice that even though it isn’t very large, it is very clean and the gardens were very pretty. We went to the imported cheese shop for a tasting. We then progressed over to the Dutch chair swing ride. For whatever reason my boys did not want to go on it. After some bribing I finally got one of them to ride, who really enjoyed it. The other kids tried the caraosel next to the swings.
Then we headed to a Dutch dancing demonstration. The young dancers were in authentic looking costumes complete with wooden shoes.
They said you need about 10 pairs of socks to keep them on. It was a hot day too so I hope they are paid well. We watched them perform several dances and then the crowd was invited to join in with a simple routine. Once again I used bribery and again they enjoyed it afterward.
We brought our picnic lunch in and sat at their picnic table near their duck pond.
Afterwards we visited some of the exhibits that portrayed historical Dutch life. We went to the animal barn next, where kids could pet bunnies and walk a goat. Or more correctly be walked by a goat.
It was so funny to watch the kids trying to direct these goats on leashes.
One of the goats broke away from the kids as the workers all scrambled to stop him.
Next we discovered some angry ducks picking on another kind of duck at a nearby pond. The other girls were trying to stop them by chasing them off and throwing wood chips at them. It was really disturbing to watch because these ducks were trying to kill this other duck in front of us. I tried clapping, throwing stuff and then finally got some workers to intervene. I know it could be part of natural selection, pecking order or whatever but I don’t want to watch it!
We moved onto the weigh house area. It was a replica of what they used to see if someone was a witch.
I think this is the one case where it is better to be bigger. If they thought you weighed less than you should for your height you were thought to have hollow bones. And that’s what they thought help determine that you were a witch.
We all passed the test and got the certificates to prove we were not witches.
Our husbands might disagree a few days of the month.
We went back to the rides again because of course, both of my boys like the swing now that we’re leaving soon.
We checked the wooden shoe shop and each found our size.
I’m thinking they were cheaper in the old country.
Afterwards we got ice cream and bought a souvenir windmill and dutch shoe ornament for our Christmas tree. Then we called it a day. We spent over 3 hours there and still did not see it all. They have 37 attractions, the ice cream shop and other small things are included in that number. I’m sure the average family could see everything but we took our time with the kids. We had 5 kids that day, ages 8 and under. I would definitely recommend going for younger ages. All of our kids had a great time and my boys said that they would want to go back again.
Want to check out this wooden shoe wonderland? Look at Nelis Dutch Village