The A. C. Van Raalte Institute is an internationally recognized leader in historical research. We focus on Dutch American history of the 19th and 20th centuries; the history of Holland, Michigan, and its subcultures; and the history of Hope College.

Portrait of Albertus C. Van RaalteWe honor the memory and the vision of the Reverend Dr. Albertus C. Van Raalte, the founder of Holland, by studying his life and work. We also investigate and publish materials concerned with the immigration and contributions of the Dutch and their descendants in the United States of America. Furthermore, we are dedicated to the study of the history of all segments of our community throughout its history.

Read about the history of the institute.

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Hope by the Numbers

  • 1847The year Van Raalte settled

    The Dutch Calvinists who settled on the shores of Lake Michigan at the mouth of Black Lake had seceded in 1834 from the Netherlands Hervormde Kerk; they had a clear sense of destiny, kept careful records of life in the colony and preserved key documents.

    Read about the history of Holland
  • 1Graduate

    Albertus C. Van Raalte was the only university graduate in the Holland colony. He recorded the minutes of key organizations, helped start two Dutch-language newspapers and kept meticulous ledgers of his land, real estate mortgages, taxes and business investments.

    Study the life and work of Van Raalte
  • 5Attempts to dig the Holland Harbor

    Van Raalte led five attempts to dig a harbor to grow the economy of the colony. Each attempt was defeated by siltation, until federal funds finally provided a way for the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the task.

    Read Swierenga’s “Holland, Michigan”
  • 50+Publications

    Since 1994 over 50 books and lectures have been published by or are forthcoming from the fellows and associates of the Van Raalte Institute.

    Browse our publications and lectures