The first Dutch?

Cassandra of West Olive asked, "When did the Dutch first immigrate to West Michigan?"
Mark Brooky
Nov 25, 2013


That would be the party led by the Rev. Albertus Van Raalte, who left religious oppression in the Netherlands in 1846 for America, finally settling in what is now Holland in February 1847.

In their book "Dutch Heritage in Kent and Ottawa Counties" for the "Images of America" series, Norma Lewis and Jay de Vries noted that, "Van Raalte chose an isolated wilderness at the mouth of the Black River to establish the 'kolonie.' The February snow was sometimes waist deep, and the forest so dense it was impossible to properly swing an axe, but the tenacious Dutchmen forged on."

The Van Raalte party and their followers put down roots in the Holland area, Lewis and de Vries wrote, and named them after the Dutch provinces where they came from: Vriesland, Graafschap, Overisel, Zeeland, Drenthe and Bentheim.

Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on three times a week: at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



Is there a map somewhere of what Holland looked like and where all of the different provinces were/are located?

Back to the Wall

Check here:

Oh, did you mean the old country?
Then here:

Careful, it's a big file - It's old, and an entire country.
And it's all in a different language. Me no speekee dutchee.

But there you go. The innernets is a wonderful thing.

Mystic Michael

That's right. The Dutch left the Netherlands in order to escape oppression in the Old World...and so that they could establish their own style of oppression in the New World.


Right on Mystic Michael! I can remember when children in Holland were not allowed to play outside on Sundays because it was the Lord's Day and was intended to be spent at church or at home with prayer and Bible reading. You could not be observed outside of your home doing any kind of work or gardening. You could only attend to your farm animals or pets. All businesses were closed until Monday morning. There was a time when black people were not allowed to live within the city limits and they lived north of Holland in the area near old U.S. 31 and New Holland Street. There was a "if you're not Dutch, you're not much" mentality in Holland. It was indeed a form of religious oppression. Lifestyles were controlled by the churches...especially the Christian Reformed Church.

Grand Haven Happy

So! It was their community and they built it from scratch and WHY shouldn't they have been able to make the all their own rules? Good for them! If you didn't or don't like the rules they had for their OWN community you were totally free and able and still are NOT to ever set foot in THEIR COMMUNITY and also for you to live elsewhere! Basically, it's NONE of anyone else's business! Perhaps you don't have any idea what FREEDOM means? Try opening a dictionary and you may just find out! Got that jealous busy bodies?

Nope, I don't live in the Holland, MI area and never have but I feel they have and had every right to have their own way of living just like the Blacks and Hispanics or other defined neighborhoods have created in their own communities and areas yet today. Perhaps some of you posters are still living under a rock yet and don't have an inkling what secions etc of cities are actually like! Venture out once and actually become informed and educated by the real facts!

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.