Sunday, September 5, 2010

Holland, Happy and Gezellig

Holland in Michigan is One of the Happiest Places in the U.S. Or did you not see the news story on ABC World News Tonight the other day? The one about Holland, Michigan? If not, you should definitely see this video to see what they had to say.
To summarize, the people of Holland, Michigan are consistently voted as amongst the happiest people in America. Why is that? This city boasts double-digit unemployment and bitterly cold winters, but the happiness of the residents just shines on through. Holland, a picturesque city on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, boasts a population of 35,048, an annual tulip festival, and beautiful beaches.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released Monday ranks the Holland statistical area, which includes Grand Haven, second in health and well-being in the nation — beating out cities in Hawaii, California and Utah. The survey scored each city on emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, access to necessities and life evaluation. The results are based on more than 350,000 telephone surveys made during 2009. In 2008, Holland was third on the list.

Holland is a city in the western region of the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is situated near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan on Lake Macatawa, which is fed by the Macatawa River (also known locally as the Black River). The city is the largest municipality of the Holland-Grand Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has an estimated population of 260,364 as of July 1, 2008. Holland was founded by Dutch Americans, and is in an area that has a large percentage of citizens of Dutch American heritage who live in communities with such Dutch names as Harlem, Zeeland, Vriesland, Drenthe, Groningen and Graafschap. It is home to Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, institutions of the Reformed Church in America.

History
Holland was settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists, under the leadership of Dr. Albertus van Raalte, who were escaping from persecution in the Netherlands. Van Raalte took the land due to its proximity to the Black River where it streamed to Black Lake (now Lake Macatawa) which, in turn, led to Lake Michigan.
The land was inhabited by the Ottawa who had been on the lake for hundreds of years and welcomed the new Dutch settlers with open arms and assistance. In Holland's early history, Van Raalte was a spiritual leader, as well as overseeing political, educational and financial matters. In 1847 Van Raalte established a congregation of the Reformed Church in America, which would later be called the First Reformed Church of Holland. In 1867,
Dutch settlements in Michigan.Holland was known as the "City of Churches." There are 170 churches in Holland, many of which are with the Reformed Church in America and Christian Reformed Church in North America denominations.

Culture
The city is perhaps best known for its Dutch heritage, which serves not only as a part of the city's cultural identity, but the local economy as well: the Tulip Time Festival in May and various Dutch-themed attractions augment the nearby Lake Michigan shoreline in attracting thousands of tourists annually.
Holland Harbor Light near Holland, Michigan.Holland's downtown is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The "Snowmelt Project" established pipes transporting warm water from the nearby power plant to travel underneath downtown with the purpose of clearing the streets and sidewalks in the downtown area of any snow. Nearby Holland State Park is a Michigan State Park.
Across the channel is the Holland Harbor Light, known as "Big Red", a lighthouse in Michigan. De Zwaan, an original 250-year-old Dutch windmill, is situated on Windmill Island, a municipal park. Holland is home to the world's largest pickle factory. The H.J. Heinz Company has operated the factory at the same location since 1897 and currently processes over 1 million pounds of pickles per day during the green season. Holland was the birthplace of Slashdot, an influential early Internet weblog created by Hope College student Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda. CNN Money named Holland as one of the top five places to retire in 2006.
source Wikipedia

And Holland seems to be gezellig.

Gezellig is a Dutch word. The term encompasses the heart of Dutch culture, as the Dutch tend to love all things gezellig. You’re welcome to try and pronounce it: heh-SELL-ick. Locals and foreigners alike will tell you that the word can not be translated. Its meaning includes everything from cozy to friendly, from comfortable to relaxing, and from enjoyable to gregarious.

According to Wikipedia, “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.”
You’ll hear the word a lot when you are among the Dutch.

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