The Klompen Dancing Project

The history Dutch folk dancing


While attending a meeting of the Women’s Literary Club in 1927, Lida Rogers proposed that Holland adopt the tulip as its flower and establish a festival to celebrate the city’s civic beauty. In 1928, the city purchased 10,000 tulips. Residents could purchase bulbs for one cent apiece. The following spring, tourists flocked to Holland to view the blooming tulips. In 1929, Tulip Time became an annual event. In 1933, the Dutch Villagers, a 12 person dutch folk dance troupe comprised of local high school students, entertained festival-goers for the first time. As Tulip Time developed into a nationally recognized festival, Klompen Dancers, as they are now known, became as integral to the celebration as tulips, windmills, and wooden shoes. An in-depth study of Klompen Dancers has not been undertaken since Birt Hilson published Klompen Dancers and Their Costumes in 1979. Students will reexamine Dutch Dancing from an interdisciplinary perspective in an effort update the meta-narrative and produce a nuanced piece of original, technically-enhanced scholarship.

Students will work together to produce original scholarship on the origins and evolution of Klompen Dancing. They may conduct their research in the archives, stacks, or the field. Students would benefit from conducting interviews with the former and current Directors of Dutch Dancing. Both the Joint Archives and the Holland Museum maintain collections relevant to the subject at hand. While students are encouraged to explore the topic independently, potential projects and digital components are listed below.

Potential Inquires
Topic // Research Question // Research Problem

I am analyzing Klompen Dancing through a gendered lens because I want to critically examine the male-female partner relationship dynamics within the context of the Dutch gender norms in order to help my audience better understand Klompen Dancing as a socially constructed activity.

I am studying the city’s historic national Klompen Dance tour group because I want to analyze the dancers’ effectiveness as ambassadors of Tulip Time and Holland so that my readers may better understand Dutch Dancing as a form of marketing for the annual festival.

I am researching the evolution of Dutch Dance choreography because I want to identify how it has changed over time in order to provide my audience with a better understanding of the traditional dance’s origins.

Suggested Digital Components

Documentary or Vodcast Series
Students may produce a documentary or vodcast series that demonstrates, explains, critiques, and contextualizes various forms of choreographed Dutch folk dances.

Online Learning Modules
Students may develop a series of online learning modules that examine the history of Klompen Dancing. Each module may include a brief vodcast, podcast, interactive game, recommended activity, and or quiz. These modules could be used by educators or interested members of the general public.

Digital Scrapbook
Students may use a digital storytelling platform to compile a well-researched “scrapbook” that creatively documents the history of Klompen Dancing. Photographs, videos, newspaper clippings, and digitized archival materials, which would feature prominently in the scrapbook, would support their claims.


Dr. Linda Graham
A Dr. Graham is an Associate Professor of Dance. She is an experienced historian of dance. Her academic scholarship focuses on the history of social dances.


H06-1602. Urban Street Magazine/Shore West. Periodical, 2005-[ongoing]. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

H06-1638.71. Holland Evening Sentinel. Newspaper, 1947. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

H07-1646. Hamlin, Sylvia R. Papers, 1954. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

H07-1647. Vogelzang, John (1877-1966). Papers and Films, 1943-1951. 0.25 linear ft. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

H07-1648. Schoone-Jongen, Terrence Guy. Paper, 2007. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

H08-1683.3. Holland Sentinel. Newspaper, 1912-1947, 1950-1952. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

H88-0234. Hope College Living Heritage Oral History Project. Records, 1995. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

H88-0336. Holland City News. Newspaper, 1872-1977. Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College, Holland, MI.

T90-1118. Penna, Ernest F. Records, 1954-1961. Holland Museum, Holland, MI.

T89‑1032. Rogers, Lida (1876‑1963). Papers, 1927‑1986. Holland Museum, Holland, MI.

T90‑1121. Van Vyven, Margaret. Papers, 1885‑1984, 1994. Holland Museum, Holland, MI.

T90‑1132. Tulip Time, Inc. Records, 1929‑1997. Holland Museum, Holland, MI.

T89-1022. Westing, Lily. Films. 1930s. Holland Museum, Holland, MI.

Van Pelt, Harry and Chita, and Carel Coenrad – Dutch Dances, 1949. Holland Museum, Holland, MI.


Hilson, Birt. Klompen Dancers and Their Costumes. Holland, Michigan: PaMaR Communications, 1979.

Swierenga, Robert P. Holland Michigan: From Dutch Colony to Dynamic City. Holland, Michigan: Van Raalte, 2014.

Water, Randall P. Holland: Happenings, Heroes & Hot Shots : Illustrated Narratives of Memorable Moments. Vol. 1-4. Holland, MI: World of Shaker, 1994.

Methodology & Theory
  • Critical Theory
  • Feminist Theory
  • Historiography
  • Musicology
  • Performance Studies
  • Visual Studies