The illustrated book “Historic Dutch Sites in the Holland/Zeeland Area: An Illustrated Tour Guide” provides an opportunity to both learn about and see dozens of locations in the region.
The 52-page volume highlights 49 places with connections to the settlement and development of the area by the immigrants who began arriving from the Netherlands in the 1840s. It has been published by the Van Raalte Press of the A.C. Van Raalte Institute at Hope College on behalf of the Dutch American Historical Commission and the Dutch Heritage Coordinating Council.
Each entry is numbered and keyed to a color map included in the book, and includes a photograph and thumbnail history. Multiple sites in Holland and Zeeland are highlighted, ranging from the Old Wing Mission that hosted the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte during his first trip to the area, to Pillar Church, to the Hope College campus, to the Dekker Huis Museum. The book also features entries on the surrounding communities of Borculo, Drenthe, Graafschap, Harlem, Noordeloos, North Holland, Overisel and Vriesland.
The book includes two copies of the map, one bound at the center and a larger version that is loose for ease of use. Although many sites within Holland and Zeeland are within walking distance of one another, the map shows routes for both motor vehicles and bicyclists. The cycling tour is titled the “Elfstedenfietstocht” (Eleven-City Bicycle Tour), a Dutch name inspired by the Elfstedentocht, a traditional 11-city ice skating race and tour in the province of Vriesland in the Netherlands.
The guide is a revision and expansion by Robert P. Swierenga of an earlier edition by Henry Ippel, which was published by the Dutch American Historical Commission. Swierenga has served as the Albertus C. Van Raalte Research Professor and adjunct professor of history at Hope since 1996, when he retired from the faculty of Kent State University. He is the author of numerous books on Dutch migration and heritage, including the three-volume “Holland, Michigan: From Dutch Colony to Dynamic City,” published by the Van Raalte Press and William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. in 2014. The map is by Mark Cook, manager of the college’s Hope-Geneva Bookstore.
Copies of “Historic Dutch Sites in the Holland/Zeeland Area: An Illustrated Tour Guide” are available for $5 at the college’s Hope-Geneva Bookstore, which is located on the ground level of the DeWitt Center, 141 E. 12th St., and can be called at 800-946-4673 or 616-395-7833. Additional ordering information may be obtained by e-mailing the Hope-Geneva Bookstore at firstname.lastname@example.org. The book is also available at the Dekker Huis/Zeeland Historical Museum, Holland Museum and Reader’s World.
Established in 1994, the A.C. Van Raalte Institute is located in the Theil Research Center at 9 E. 10th St. and specializes in scholarly research and writing on immigration and the contributions of the Dutch and their descendants in the United States. The institute is also dedicated to the study of the history of all the people who have comprised the community of Holland throughout its history. Since its founding, the institute and its affiliated scholars have published nearly 40 books.