The Veldheer Tulip Garden in Holland, Michigan annually plants over 5 million tulips for guests to walk through, purchase and enjoy. Visitors may spend hours walking through the tulip fields, which span 10 acres. Peak blooming season lasts from mid-April through mid-May, when not only the tulips are in full bloom, but 50,000 daffodils, 10,000 hyacinth and 20,000 crocus.
From June 1st through October, perennials in bloom include day lilies, Dutch lilies and peonies. The perennial gardens are set among canals, drawbridges and Dutch windmills. Guests who tour the tulip fields are given self-guided tour booklets, which assist in identification of the more than 800 different tulip varieties. Visitors enjoy the ample photography opportunities against the Dutch themed backdrop of the tulip fields and windmills.
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Twenty Buffalo live at the Veldheer farm, the most famous of which are twins Wange and Nepa. The twins are the only known pair in the United States to have been genetically certified by The National Bison Association as identical. A 14-year old bull named Tacoma stands at nearly seven feet tall and weighs over 3,500 pounds. He is the only bull on the farm. The Buffalo are part of a breeding and educational program which teaches guests about the Buffalo’s place in American history. Grass-fed, hormone free, USDA quality bison meat is available for purchase.
A garden center on site sells a wide range of perennial bulbs and seeds, as well as fertilizer, gardening tools, bedding plants and garden statuary. Tulips and tulip bulbs are for sale during autumn only. The gift shop, De Klomp, sells traditional Dutch souvenirs, toys and Christmas items. Delftware is classic hand painted Dutch pottery. Veldheer’s is the only authentic Delftware manufacturer in the United States and produces 400 of the blue and white items, ranging from decorative figurines and collectibles to house wares. Custom projects can be completed upon request. Visitors may tour the factory and watch the entire process from pouring liquid clay into the molds, to firing in the 2,000-degree oven, to the hand-painting of each item’s designs. Traditional Dutch wooden shoes are also sold on site. A Dutch-trained and certified shoemaker works on site to carve the shoes from blocks of wood using traditional Dutch machinery. Visitors may watch the shoe-making process and order custom painted shoes, or have their name wood burned into the shoe. Shoe sizes range from doll-sized to adult. A candy shop offers chocolate letters in a variety of sizes, as well as Dutch pastries, cookies and candy. Knowledgeable staff and artisans are always present to answer questions about the crafting process or the items.
History: Vern Veldheer (b.1925) began the tulip garden as a hobby farm in 1947 with a planting of 300 white tulips and 100 red tulips in a 10-foot square plot of land. Today, Vern continues to work more than 60 hours per week at the farm, although he is nearing 100 years old. Vern purchased the adjacent De Klomp wooden shoe and Delftware factory in 1984, expanding his business from tulips to Dutch souvenirs. A small memorial on the farm is dedicated to his wife, who passed in 2004.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The Tulip Time Festival is an annual event celebrating Dutch culture and heritage. Each May, for one week, the entire city of Holland, Michigan is decorated with tulip plantings. Traditional Dutch Klompen, or wooden shoe dancing, food and live music can be found throughout the city. Three parades, the Volksparade, Kinderparade, and Muziekparade, take place over the 8 days. A quilt show and arts and crafts show are set up downtown, and trolley and carnival rides entertain visiting children. Veldheer’s Tulip Garden and the De Klomp wooden shoe and Delftware factory is just one of the many attractions open to the public for special events that week. The Tulip Time Festival has been named the best Small Town Festival as well as the best Flower Festival.
What’s Nearby: Nearby tulip gardens include Tulip Lanes, Windmill Island Gardens and Nelis’ Dutch Village, although with over 5 million bulbs planted, Veldheer’s offers the largest tulip planting in the United States. The Holland Museum and Dutch Galleries offer up a collection of Dutch Master paintings, including ‘Seated Beggar’ by Rembrandt. The museum exhibits artifacts related to the history of Dutch settlement in America. Holland’s Graafschap Heritage Center focuses on the history and genealogy of settlers to Holland, Michigan.
12755 Quincy Street, Holland, MI 49424, Phone: 616-399-1900