These are “facts” straight from the lips of Grumpy himself. Kids, you may want to double check these before using them in your next geography report.
Dutch-Influenced American History
The Dutch originally bought what we now know as Manhattan for about 24 bucks, a hunk of Gouda, and 164 tulip bulbs.
We named most of the cities that make up present day New York, although you English folk have royally skrewed up the spellings.
The Dutch were early allies of the Americans during the Revolutionary War (like we’re going to side with those land-hogging British) and were the first to acknowledge the independence of the United States.
Teddy Roosevelt, the original Rough Rider, was a Dutchman. Mount up!
Teddy’s fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was also a notable Dutchman. He married his fifth cousin Eleanor, which was Teddy’s niece. How’s that for triangulation? Okay, moving on….
Not included among Dutch Americans are the Pennsylvania Dutch, which are a group of German Americans who settled in Pennsylvania and would love to be Dutch (who wouldn’t, right?!) …Or, it may be something about some colonial-aged goof in mistaking the word “Deutsch” for “Dutch”. Either way, they’re not in the club.
Based upon high taxes and low wages, many Cavinist Dutch farmers immigrated to the United States (mostly to the Midwest) during the early and mid-nineteenth century. These immigrants were led by their fearless leader, John Calvin, who preached Dutch Reformed theology on Sundays and hosted a popular conservative Dutch radio show during the week.
Martin Luther, another prominent person to break from the Catholic Church, wanted to transfer his membership to the Dutch Reformed Church over frustration that his Lutheran religion was still too often mistaken for the Catholic religion. However, he was already entrenched with the Lutherans, who would not let him out of their gang without continual fear for his life.
Today, wooden shoes are more of an endearing stereotype than standard, Dutch issue. However, wooden shoes did have their place in Dutch culture. The Dutch wore klompen (their word for wooden shoes) because they were sturdy, watertight, and cheaper than shoes made from leather. Additionally, in the Netherlands, where the ground can get kinda mucky (we’re talking about land that is below sea level), wooden shoes would not rot out as quickly as a pair made from leather.
Way back in the day, wooden shoes were made by hand using special carving tools. This made for a long, painstaking process, where even a good carver could only crank out 2-3 pairs of shoes a day. A shoe carver could officially retire once they produced 15,000 pairs of shoes or lost 25% of their fingers, whichever occurred first.
Today we Dutch-folk have special machines that follow a “pattern shoe” for each size needed, allowing wooden shoes to be manufactured at a faster pace. However, decorating and painting these shoes is still mainly done by hand with a variety of colors. These colors include white, blue, light blue, medium light blue, and dark blue.
You would likely be surprised at how comfortable a pair of wooden shoes actually are. (Almost as comfortable as Grumpy’s t-shirts.) I wouldn’t suggest running a half-marathon with them, but they make great gardening shoes. Rain, mud, dirt, and puddles are all no match for a pair of wooden shoes.
Wooden shoes may, in fact, be the first safety shoe. Nails, glass, rocks and other dangerous items that may be lurking in your back yard wont poke through like those flimsy, foam flip-flops we’ve seen you wearing. Plus, when you drop that garden gnome statue on your foot, your metatarsals will be protected. Believe it or not, studies have shown that wooden shoes may provide MORE protection than steel-toed shoes, as the wood will not bend upon impact and cut your toes off like steel can.
History will have you believe that the tulip originated from the Ottoman Empire, but we all know that it was invented in the Netherlands for sole use by the Dutch for our festivals.
The tulip was originally grown to treat all sorts of historical Dutch ailments, including shortness and allergic reactions to almonds and cheese. These former Dutch ailments have mostly been eradicated; however side effects of medicinal tulip use are still prevalent generations after its use. These side effects mainly include extremely blonde hair, blue eyes, and all around awesomeness.
There are over a hundred varieties of the tulip, most of which, can be found in the backyards of our Dutch grandparent’s houses.
Tulips are celebrated by the Dutch during spring-time tulip festivals. These festivals include Dutch costumes, dancing, and food. Most importantly, tulip festivals don’t seem to attract carnies. If a carnie is spotted, you can wear a tulip bulb around your neck to keep them at bay.
Again, history will try to tell you that the windmill was first used by the Greeks or the ancient Babylonians. All untrue. The first windmill was originally created by the Dutch to power a wooden shoe machine. Later uses of the windmill included pumping water, milling grain, and other industrial uses.
Most Dutch windmills turn counterclockwise, except those windmills constructed by the Australian Dutch.
There are over 1,000 windmills still in existence in the Netherlands. There are over 10,000 windmills used as lawn ornaments in Pella, Iowa alone.
The last windmill brought to the United States is the De Zwaan windmill in Holland, Michigan. The De Zwaan was disassembled in the Netherlands, shipped across the Atlantic and through the Great Lakes, and reconstructed on Windmill Island. Holland was relieved to finally have a real windmill constructed on Windmill Island. Prior to the construction, Windmill Island only had an 8 foot, garden-type windmill on display, which made for disgruntled tourists.
Reconstruction of the De Zwaan took about six months. Prior to the reconstruction, a bet was made between the Germans and the Dutch living in Holland at the time as to who could reconstruct the windmill the fastest. The Dutch let the Germans go first, and then conceded the victory. The Germans, embarrassed by how easily they were duped, moved out of town shortly thereafter.
The Dutch are famous for their Delft pottery. The finest pieces are made in the City of Delft, which is a wonderful place where all the buildings are white and blue and everyone walks around with a tiny paintbrush.
Other Delft-style pottery is made in places like Rotterdam, Drodrecht, Amsterdam, and Gouda. In Gouda, they paint the famous Dutch blue and white design on wheels of cheese. The finely painted cheese wheels are so beautiful it’s almost a shame to eat them. Almost.
If you don’t own at least three pieces of Delftware, including one piece that hangs prominently in your kitchen, many question your Dutch allegiance.
In China, they get out the fine Delft when company comes over.
A famous crayon company has top secret plans to announce Delft Blue as a new crayon color, replacing the color periwinkle in the crayon box. Nobody likes periwinkle anyway.