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photo courtesy of @christiangrubaums

Visit the Netherlands at Windmill Island Gardens

Located on the northern outskirts of Holland Michigan, Windmill Island Gardens is a very beautiful park that features a working windmill from the Netherlands. It almost feels like you’ve stepped into another country with the flowered gardens, costumed guides, and much more.

Windmill Island Park Attractions

Windmill Island has so much beauty to offer you. It is probably best known as home to the windmill De Zwaan (graceful bird) that was brought over all the way from the Netherlands. This authentic and graceful Dutch windmill is very unique because it is the only operating one in the United States. 

As its massive 80-foot diameter blades rotate in the wind, it turns mechanisms inside that grind locally grown wheat into flour. You can even purchase this flour in the gift shop on the grounds.

The island is also well-known for its 36 acres of stunning gardens that you walk through. While you’re on the 4th-floor deck of the windmill, you can gaze out on all of the flowers as well as dikes and canals. Not only is this an amazing sight to behold, but it is also a beautiful background for photo opportunities

As you take in all of the charms that the park offers, you’ll also get to enjoy:

  • Guides in authentic costumes.
  • An Amsterdam street organ that is demonstrated at various times of the day.
  • A hand-painted dutch carousel.
  • A replica of a Dutch inn.
  • A conservatory.
  • Picnic areas.
  • A playground.
WindmillIslandGardens tamera kwist photography Visit the Netherlands at Windmill Island Gardens
photo courtesy of @amera_kwist_photography

History of Windmill Island Gardens

So, what brought such a unique, 250-year-old Dutch windmill to Holland? With the help of some local residents that were looking for a way to honor the city’s Dutch heritage, Holland purchased the windmill in 1964 from a miller in the Netherlands. At the time, it was very damaged and needed a lot of work to restore its beauty.

After the reconstruction of De Zwaan, the park opened its doors in April 1965. On opening day, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was the park’s first guest. The park still displays the prince’s ticket and the Dutch ten guilder that he paid with.

Things To Do Around Windmill Island

Windmill Island Gardens has so many unique things nearby that you can do and add to your day. 

Another little piece of the Netherlands, Nelis’ Dutch Village is a really neat theme park 10 minutes north of the island. It offers fun for all ages with a wooden shoe shop, traditional dutch food and gifts, rides, and more.

Visit the Holland Museum to explore even more of Holland’s beauty and history. Less than 10 minutes south of the gardens, you can enjoy beautiful artwork and artifacts while learning about the area.

The Outdoor Discovery Center offers a ton of fun for everyone. You can enjoy the birds of prey center, fishing, multiple trails, and more. Just 15 minutes south of Windmill Island, it’s a great addition to your day. 

If you’re looking to spend a little time on the beach and maybe even have a picnic, Tunnel Park is about 15 minutes west of the island gardens. On the shore of Lake Michigan, this park has a unique little tunnel that takes you under the dunes connecting the beach to the play area and parking. Additionally, it offers beach volleyball courts, a playground, and more.

Holland Michigan Restaurants

On your way to Windmill Island, stop at The 205 Coffee Bar for a delicious cup of coffee and waffles for breakfast. You can even stop at this shop again as you leave the island for an adult coffee beverage, cocktail, or wine.

About 2 blocks north of Holland Museum, Fricano’s Too offers delicious thin-crust style pizza with a variety of toppings to choose from. This is such a local favorite that it has been voted the best pizza in Michigan. If you’ve never been, will it become your favorite too?

Mizu Sushi offers a wide variety of sushi rolls as well as traditional Japanese and Korean dishes. Indoor and outdoor dining is available to you. As it is just 5 minutes south of Windmill Island, stop by for lunch or dinner after your visit to the gardens. 

If sushi isn’t your thing, then right next door The Curragh Irish Pub offers an authentic Irish atmosphere and menu. You can enjoy your meal inside or outside on the patio. While you’re here, check out the wide variety of whiskeys that are available too.

WindmillIslandGardens kristinesoriano Visit the Netherlands at Windmill Island Gardens
photo courtesy of @kristinesoriano

Where to Stay in Holland Michigan

With so much to do and see in Holland, you might want to play an overnight stay nearby. Here are a few Holland hotel, vacation rentals, and even a campground to consider:

No RV? No Problem!

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Whether you want to pull it behind you or have it all set up at your destination, renting an RV is the best way to enjoy all your summer adventures in Michigan!


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Photos of Windmill Island Gardens

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