Z is for Zeeland!

Zeeland ( /ˈziːlɨnd/ zee-lənd) is a city in Ottawa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,805 at the 2000 census. The city is located at the western edge of Zeeland Charter Township which is politically independent. Its name is derived from the Dutch province of Zeeland. As of the 2009 census estimates, the population was 5,465.

In 1847, nearly 500 Dutch citizens sailed for America ostensibly to achieve religious freedom. However, an alternative explanation was their opposition to modern scientific and social advances, such contraception, vaccination, insurance, chemical fertilizers, and their failure to thrive in their home province of (Zeeland, Netherlands).

The emigrants were led by Jannes van de Luyster, a wealthy landowner who sold his holdings in the Netherlands to advance money for the members to pay their debts and buy passage to America.[5] Their settlement, some 16,000 acres (65 km2) of land once occupied by the Odawa people, was named after their home province of Zeeland.

Van de Luyster arranged for three ships to sail for the United States. He came on the first ship, arriving on June 27, 1847. He was followed by the Steketee group on July 4, and Reverend Van Der Meulen’s group on August 1. The total number who came was 457.

The first building was a church. The town of Zeeland was platted in 1849, and the school district was organized the following year. Close to twenty-five years later, Zeeland had already acquired a sawmill, a wagon factory, blacksmith shops, grocery stores, and a post office.

The village officially became a city in 1907 with a population of almost 3,000. There was a two-story brick kindergarten building, a two-story brick grade school, and a brick house building. The city also had four furniture factories, one large manufacturing plant, and several mills and smaller manufacturing industries.

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