Preservation of the Dutch identity
Staying aloofEver since there has been Dutch in America, they have strongly tried to keep their identity, especially their church. The reverends tried to keep several Dutch traditions, preserving the Dutch culture. This worked, but during the nineteenth century, the Dutch began working for the Americans. As a result, they adopted many features of American culture. Another factor in their transition was the American Civil War.
Dutch AmericansThe people went to the church regularly each week and there they considered themselves "Dutch". Once outside the church, they became Americans. They were in constant battle between the Dutch and American cultures, but bit by bit, they created a mixture of both.
Church stayed, with powerThe church still had power among the Dutch to this day. In many Michigan towns, few stores are open on Sundays, under the influence of the church. Compared to the twenty-four hour economy of the USA, it is quite different from most American cities.
The church also started several schools, and there the children got lessons on a religious manner. This all was in Dutch. Later on the Dutch element disappeared as the schools changed to English, and from then on the schools are called "Christian schools".
No Dutch lessonsFor a long time the sermons in church were in Dutch, but because the children didn't learn Dutch on school, this eventually died out because they didn't understand Dutch.
SocietiesThe integration was going well, even a bit too well in some people's opinions. They set up societies to save their "Dutch heritage". The "Algemeen Nederlandsch Verbond" was set up in 1898. It has a department in each Dutch settlement, and they have organized many conferences with subjects such as "the beauty and the power of the Dutch languae" and similar. With this, they tried to keep the Dutch culture alive longer under the Dutch descendants.
The yearly Streetscrubbing ...
| In 1885 the "Holland Society" was set up. Now, it has around 1,000 members and almost all members live in or around New York. They collect almost anything, as long as it has a connection with the history of the Dutch in America. They also publish their own magazine: "De Halve Maen." This magazine appears in English because the most members can not read Dutch.|
In Michigan exists the "Dutch-American Association", which coordinates all initiatives for the preservation of the Dutch heritage in the USA.
FestivalsSometimes the honors of the homecountry are a bit stereotypical. In many places, there are festivals that have occured since the nineteen twenties or thirties. Just think of "Tulip Time Festival". What do you see? Exactly: national costumes, tulips and wooden shoes. There also is streetscrubbing, several floats with old Dutch presentations, wooden shoe dancers and a Tulip Queen election. These kind of festivals are very popular.
Finally, the Dutch are intergrated in the Dutch society, wherefore they got much honor.
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