“If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.” That is a saying from West Michigan, which is stocked with Dutchmen. The boast is uncharacteristic, in that the Dutch are so polite. They are raised in rectitude. (I am generalizing, of course, but not untruthfully.) Grand Rapids is the capital of Dutch Michigan. Gerald Ford rose there, and he wasn’t Dutch. See how tolerant they are of the Other?
Thirty miles from Grand Rapids is Holland — beautiful, clean, wholesome Holland, Mich. An emblematic town. I paid a visit there recently and have a journal on the homepage today (here).
In this journal, I mention that Dutch people — and Dutch Americans — are tall. Holland’s high schools have excelled in basketball over the years. Just this year, a Holland school finished runner-up in the state tournament.
Once upon a time, Holland Christian — from which Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education, graduated — was a basketball powerhouse. In the 1930s, they won the state championship twice and finished runner-up once. They have had some glory since then too.
Several years ago, Anthony Daniels — who also writes as Theodore Dalrymple — told me that the Dutch — in Europe, I mean — had surpassed certain East Africans as the tallest people in the world. Tony is well-known, and much appreciated, in the Netherlands, and he has appeared in the press there over the years. In one piece, he was described as “short of stature.” In no other country, almost certainly, would he be described that way.
Anyway, America is dotted with ethnic pockets, if you will, and Holland, Mich., is a very nice pocket. Check it out, perhaps going to the Tulip Festival one year. Or, if that’s impractical, my journal will do, for now.
P.S. This journal is replete with photos, which does not make me a photojournalist, I know, but you have to start somewhere. “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”