Connecting heritage & community

Steve Bulthuis and his daughter Bethany carry a long and proud history with the Dutch community of Holland. Steve’s great, great, great grandfather sailed with Albertus Van Raalte from the Netherlands to found Holland, Mi in 1847. For Steve, Tulip Time carries the traditions of that time forward. Steve remembers walking as a child in the Kinderparade and the year that President Ford came to participate in the festivities. So many memories with Steve’s family and community revolve around the annual festival. Senior year of high school, Steve and his friends created quite a stir when they joined Dutch dancing as a group of high school sweethearts. Today, Steve watches Bethany march in those same parades and join her own friends in carrying on the Dutch Dancing of the festival. 

For Bethany, participating in the parades and offering tours of the DeZwaan windmill is about connecting with her family heritage and her community. As a senior in high school, Bethany has already worn through her first pair of wooden shoes, and likely, she’ll wear through another. For Bethany and Steve, Tulip Time will always be a time of returning to their roots. Hopefully, there will always be a Bulthuis to join the dance.

“During Tulip Time, the stores along 8th Street have ‘wooden shoe parking’ for all of the Dutch Dancers so we can slip off our wooden shoes without scuffing up the floors. I love that the whole town joins together to embrace the festival in that way.”

Bethany Bulthuis
Holland Christian Senior
Dutch Dancer
Holland Resident

“This community’s heritage is such a vibrant part of who we are—down to our name. When I host state and federal officials for work, I always try to bring them to town during Tulip Time. The culture of this place is unlike anywhere else, and people love to participate in what makes us who we are.”

Steve Bulthuis
Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Former Dutch Dancer
Holland Resident