The emigrants were, most of the time, simple people, and they were surprised by the social freedom they had in America, which they had not had in the Netherlands. They had been ignored by some people because of their religion. That's why they were attracted to Michigan. In 1854 Markus E. Nienhuis wrote about it:
"You can choose your own religion, nobody will force you, what the teacher wants to preach and where and how you want to build a church, you can do it how you want to do it, but the problem is that everybody has to manage for hisself. And there aren't any country-roads. (..) We can also live here relaxed.. (..) We are saved from being slaves and we don't have to work for people who want to be paid, so that we don't have the chance to be set out of our homes."Freedom of chosing your religion was very important for the emigrants.
The emigrants were also surprised by the lack of oppression by the government. Children played without shoes on their feet and women rode horses and carriages. They also got a day-off when there was a funeral of somebody they knew, which they did not get in the Netherlands.
There was lots of money spent on a funeral. The coffin cost around 140 dollars, the deceased was dressed beautifully, and there was a window-pane on the coffin. Everybody went to the graveyard in carriages. At the graveyard, there was another coffin, put around the first one. All together this meant many costs, which wasn't in the Netherlands.