Sourced from Dubois County Free Press
As part of its celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial, Holland, Indiana will pay homage to its namesake when the town welcomes the Honorable Heleen Bakker, Deputy Head of the Political Department of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Holland Commons, a $120,000.00 community financed project, officially opens with a ribbon cutting led by the Netherlands’s authorized representative.
“This is a true community project to serve the entire area. We are amazed of the response we have received not just from Holland, but all areas of Dubois County and Holland the Netherlands,” committee member Sharon Springston said.
Located at 405 West Main Street in Holland, the Commons will be a downtown gathering area and green-space including the Holland History Stone. The stone will share Holland’s connection to northern Germany and the unique story of the town’s naming of Holland by founder Heinrich Kunz.
Another feature of the project is Memorial Plaza. Anchored by a flag pole and monument columns dedicated to Gold Star Servicemen and women, the plaza area is designed to share a special honor to Holland area soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Through Ms. Bakker, the Netherlands is scheduled to play a major role in the December 11, 2016 dedication of the Commons as the representative will cut the ribbon officially bestowing the town’s Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project. The diplomat has served the Kingdom in a foreign relations capacity since 1998 and has worked in Dutch embassies from Nairobi Kenya to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the United States Bakker was posted at the United Nations and, as of 2015, a diplomatic member of the Netherlands’s Embassy in Washington, D.C.
“As a descendent of Germans who raised their money to come to the United States by ‘Holland Going’ in the Netherlands, I am excited a Dutch representative will be in our town playing an active part in such a historic Celebration,” Lee Bilderback, Holland Events Committee member, said. “I feel my Langebrake, Weitkamp, Wibbeler, and Bartelt ancestors would be proud of their adopted community.”
During the 1800s it was common for northern German men to annually cross the Dutch board to work the beat bogs and grass fields of the Netherlands. German locals referred to this venture as Holland Going. Some of the funds raised working in the Netherlands financed many journeys from Europe to the United States.
The celebration begins at 4:00 p.m. with the presentation of a wreath at the Holland United Methodist Cemetery grave of town founder, Heinrich Kunz. At 5:00 p.m., the celebration will continue at the Commons.
The celebration will embrace Holland’s unique place in Indiana history and include traditional music along with the community’s welcoming of the Holiday season. Special guests will share thoughts and poems on Hoosier life and Ms. Bakker will cut the ribbon officially dedicating the Commons to its namesake and the Holland Community. Crafts and customary holiday treat bags will be available for the children and refreshments will be served to all guests. The evening with conclude with the arrival of Santa Claus.
Holland Commons is a project of the Holland Events Committee, Inc. and the Town of Holland. The Dubois County Community Foundation is a partner of the project. Contributions for the project are still being accepted at Holland Commons, PO Box 344, Holland, Indiana 47541. Holland Commons is recognized by the State of Indiana as an official Bicentennial Legacy Project.