The Dutch originally wore wooden shoes because of the footwear’s ability to withstand the harsh conditions that came with jogging through acidic tulip fields. Discover further Dutch history and culture with today's Groupon: for $18, you get admission for two (up to a $20 value) as well as $20 worth of Dutch gifts, additional admissions, or Dutch fare at Nelis' Dutch Village in Holland.
Originally founded in 1958 by the tulip-farming Nelis family, Nelis' Dutch Village recreates the ambience of Old Holland with a variety of attractions and activities for guests of all ages. Children can walk a goat at the petting zoo and ride chair swings and cobbling hobbyists—or cobbyists—can observe how authentic Dutch wooden clogs are made and then test-drive a pair with a folk-dance demonstration. Duck into the dark of a matinee at the Bioscoop movie theater or settle long-lingering doubts about Aunt Carol with the Dutch Village’s reproduction of a 200-year-old scale used to determine guilt or innocence during witch trials.
Complete the experience using some of your $20 worth of in-park guilders at the Hungry Dutchman Cafe, which serves both American and Dutch specialties. Try a Dutch lunch special, such as the pigs in a blanket served with traditional pea soup and Dutch-apple pie ($8) or the mettwurst pork sausage with hot potato salad and sweet-and-sour cabbage ($8). Outdoor seating overlooks a duck pond, populated by toothless birds jealous of mankind’s ability to eat crunchable cuisine. After dining, return to the Dutch Village and add another entry to your dairy diary with the farmhouse-cheese-making operation, where freshmen farmhands can experience the art of cheese making and sample its outcome. Nelis' Dutch Village also hosts a plethora of shopping options for guests' remaining guilders, such as tulip bulbs ($6.95+) or hand-turned wooden bowls ($7.95+), allowing visitors to pick up a souvenir for their best friend, favorite mom, or fourth-grade pen pal, Odval.
Nelis' Dutch Village will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., until season close in mid-September. Check its calendar for upcoming events or holiday closures.
Nelis’ Dutch Village
In 1910, Frederick Nelis sent his 17-year-old son Harry from the Netherlands to America in search of land so that the family of 14 could later join him across the pond. After a tough couple of years, the clan discovered a settlement in Holland, Michigan, whose rich soils proved ideal for growing tulips.
Over the course of the next 100 years, the Nelis’ tulip farm blossomed into the theme park it is today. Still family operated and brought to life by the Netherlands’ signature blooms, the park is now home to myriad attractions for all ages. Traditional Dutch dancers don wooden shoes and lead lessons for visitors, and artisans hand carve candles into intricate masterpieces or slightly smaller candles. As guests stroll to the Dutch swing, petting zoo, or carousel, the notes from an Amsterdam street organ float through winding canals and over the looming windmills that, at a glance, may momentarily transport guests to the Netherlands as Harry Nelis last saw it in 1910.