I grew up on the coast of West Michigan, not far from Holland, Michigan. Each year this quaint town carries on its dutch heritage and traditions through a week-long celebration called Tulip Time Festival. The city seems to burst with life as everyone prepares for busy streets and crowded window shops. Carnivals, “Carni” foods, fireworks, concerts, art exhibits… you name it, it’s there. Believe it or not, students get a few days out of school due to the high participation in the marching bands, parades, and street performing. Tourists from all over the world come to Holland to see the beautifully bloomed Tulips that line every street corner and park. Their second favorite attraction: dutch dancers.
Dutch Dancers, or “Klompen Dancers,” wear costumes patterned after the traditional dress of the Dutch Provinces. Each costume is handmade by local seamstresses and carefully inspected before it can be worn in the Dutch Dance performances. The dancers perform traditional group dances to strictly traditional Dutch music played over the city speakers for everyone to hear. Here is a video to demonstrate the traditional music and dance:
Schools get rather competitive when it comes to dancing – each student earns points for their school based on their appropriate attire and dancing technique. There are currently over 1,100 Dutch Dancers.
This is a tradition that will surely carry on for many more years. This year Holland celebrates 77 years of Dutch tradition May 5-12.