Dutch-North America

Preserving Our COVID-19 Stories

Preserving Our COVID-19 Stories

“The influenza played havoc with everything run to schedule in our village and vicinity. Churches, Schools, Movies, even Poolrooms were promptly closed in the beginning of the dreaded disease, even before it had really reached us, and by the time the Flu caught us in […]

Muck Farms and Dutch Immigrants

Muck Farms and Dutch Immigrants

The Dutch know muck. And they know how to grow vegetables and flowers in it. At least that was my experience growing up. “Muck farms” refers to agriculture in areas where wetlands were drained and the “muck” turned into productive “garden farms,” typically producing vegetables […]

Play Ball? Sports, Religion, and Immigrants

Play Ball? Sports, Religion, and Immigrants

My title — “Play ball?” — really should have two question marks. I picked this topic because I’ve been watching to see whether North Americans will get major league baseball this Covid-19 summer. That’s one question. The other is whether Christian athletes should play on […]

Dutch West Michigan and the Civil War

Dutch West Michigan and the Civil War

In 1862, the founder of the Dutch colonies in West Michigan, Albertus Van Raalte, began to urge the men of his immigrant flock to enlist. He did not spare his own sons, Dirk and Benjamin. Both joined the Union Army in August, serving with other […]

First Netherlands Reformed Church – Ties that Bind and Separate

First Netherlands Reformed Church – Ties that Bind and Separate

A common question about the history of settler societies like the United States and Canada is the degree to which immigrants adapted to conditions in the “new world” or successfully transplanted their “old world” ways. The religious history of immigrants provides valuable case studies to […]

Johannes Groen and Grand Rapids Politics

Johannes Groen and Grand Rapids Politics

In our last blog post, we looked at a general overview of Reverend Johannes Groens’s life and ministry. We saw that Groen was a dynamic speaker who was loved by many who knew him. We also saw that conflict characterized parts of his ministry. In […]

The Life and Ministry of Johannes Groen, 1865-1924

The Life and Ministry of Johannes Groen, 1865-1924

Humble origins and deep piety marked the Dutch Reformed immigrants who came to Michigan in the mid-nineteenth century. So to did a love of learning, especially theology, and an inclination to apply Reformed theology and thought to all aspects of life. All these characteristics marked […]

Diphtheria and Immigrants in Paterson, NJ, 1893

Diphtheria and Immigrants in Paterson, NJ, 1893

“Diphtheria in Paterson” the headline read. The article announced that School No. 12 in the city’s New Holland neighborhood was closed after twelve students had died from the infection.  The building stood at 33-41 Bergen St., the center of an area city officials described as […]

Failure in Maxwell, New Mexico, or Faithful Legacy?

Failure in Maxwell, New Mexico, or Faithful Legacy?

The story of frontier families and settlements is one of triumph in American mythology, creating civilization out of wilderness. The actual history of frontier life includes a lot of failure, however. Failed homesteads, with families moving on to start over somewhere else. Communities beginning, then […]

So, What’s Your Story?

So, What’s Your Story?

This post concludes a series of three blog posts on belonging and identity in the Dutch immigrant communities in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s. The first two posts– “Smells and Tastes” and “Dutch Bingo.” –explored how religious identities and ethnic identities easily get entangled. […]