Tiptoeing Through the Tulips

Antone & Mary Van Grunsven-compressed
Great Grandparents Mary & Antone Van Grunsven

I believe there are two types of people in this world, those who roam through cemeteries, and those who don’t.  I fall into the first camp.  Earlier this week I traveled to the Land of Cheese(heads) to visit family and reconnect with my Dutch roots.  My mother and I spent the good part of a day tracking down my great grandparents (4 sets in all) who emigrated from Holland in the late 1800s.  Walking among the headstones, we marveled at their fortitude.  They arrived with children in tow, not speaking a word of English, with the hope of farming a plot of land and raising their children (my grandparents) in this new world.  Fortunate for me and my relatives, they thrived and not only adapted to their new life, but passed on their love of tulips, thriftiness, and a delicious rice pudding and bray recipe.

I was fortunate to visit the Netherlands in the summer of 2014, and delighted in my, and my countrymen’s mutual love of museums, bicycling, green power (think: windmills!), a mean smoked gouda, and of course, tulips!

Here are a few more Dutch quirks you may not be aware of:

  1. Tulips did not originate in the Netherlands, they were imported from Turkey in the late 16th century.
  2. The Dutch flag is red, white and blue, however, the national color is orange. The Dutch Royal Family is from the House of Orange (Huis van Oranje-Nassau).
  3. The Dutch love to ride their bikes. There are three times more bikes than cars in the Netherlands.
  4. The Dutch are on average the tallest people in the world. Men average 6 feet, and women average, 5 feet, 7 inches. To learn more, check out this “short” (pun intended) video from the BBC: Why-Are-Dutch-Tall?

Fun Fact:  If you live near Holland Michigan and would like to get your Dutch on, you can celebrate at the Tulip Time Festival, May 7-14, 2016. Click on this link to learn more: Tulip-Time

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