Zeeland, Michigan

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Zeeland (pronounced /ˈziːlɨnd/, ZEE-lənd) is a city in Ottawa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,805 at the 2000 census. The city is located at the western edge of Zeeland Charter Township which is politically independent. Its name is derived from the Dutch province of Zeeland. As of the 2009 census estimates, the population was 5,465.[3]



In 1847, a group of immigrants in search of religious freedom made plans to fulfill their dream. An alternative explanation for the group's motivation to emigrate is their opposition to scientific and social advances (e.g., contraception, vaccination, insurance, chemical fertilizers) and their resulting failure to thrive under the economic and agricultural conditions of the time in their homeland (Zeeland, Netherlands) [4]. The group was led by wealthy landowner, Jannes van de Luyster, who decided to sell all his holdings in the Netherlands in order to advance money to group members to settle their debts and pay for passage to America[5]. The site of the original village, some 16,000 acres (65 km²) of land originally occupied by the Ottowa people, was named after the province of Zeeland, their former home in the Netherlands. Van de Luyster arranged for three ships to make their way to Holland, Michigan. His group was on the first ship to arrive, on June 27, 1847. This ship was followed by the Steketee group on July 4, 1847, and Reverend Van Der Meulen’s group on August 1. The total number of immigrants who embarked on this journey was 457.

The first building to be assembled was a church. Zeeland was platted in 1849, with the school district being organized the following year in 1850.

Close to twenty-five years later, Zeeland had already acquired a sawmill, a wagon factory, blacksmith shops, grocery stores, and a post office.

The village officially became a city in 1907 with a population of almost 3,000. There was a two-story brick kindergarten building, a two-story brick grade school, and a brick house building. The city also had four furniture factories, one large manufacturing plant, and several mills and smaller manufacturing industries.[6]

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