Achterhoek culture in America, this can be found there

An important part of the Holland Festival in Wisconsin is scrubbing the streets. Photo: Joske Meerdink

WINTERSWIJK – Clog dance and farmer’s smock. We may think it’s old-fashioned, but in the American state of Wisconsin they are proud of their Achterhoek roots.

A village crier in costume who walks around with his bell and orders the children to scrub the street with soap and water, so that the clog dance can be danced on a polished street. Podcast maker Joske Meerdink from Winterswijk is amazed when she visits the Holland Festival for her podcast De Disaster met de Phoenix in Cedar Grove, founded by Dutch migrants. The participants and visitors are proud of their Dutch roots.

For a moment Joske thinks that the Driekusman (the most famous clog dance in the east of the country) can be used at any time, but when she inquires with the American accordionists, it means nothing to them.

Traditions are also often passed on through food, Joske learns from Professor of Migration History Marlou Schrover. “In America, cookbooks with recipes from great-grandmothers are popular.”

“American donuts taste like donuts”

“The Holland Festival is an attempt to hold on to a world they have lost and which they want to relive out of a sense of homesickness and nostalgia,” explains Schrover. “Especially the older generations have a frozen image of the Netherlands.” According to her, the Dutch roots are proudly propagated by most Americans.

Ten thousand oliebollen are sold during the weekend of the Holland Festival. Joske: “They are delicious, but they taste more like cake or donuts than the oliebollen, as we know them.”

Backcountry Street Names in Wisconsin

Anyone who drives around Wisconsin is reminded of the Achterhoek everywhere. The names in the cemeteries, names of shops and street names are reminiscent of the Achterhoek families who settled in Wisconsin in the nineteenth century. Such as the Hoitinkroad, Rauwerdinkroad and Mentinkroad. Further on there is the village of Holland and more inland the American village of Barneveld.

Borculo, Zutphen, Drenthe, Vriesland and Zwolle are also place names in the state of Michigan of places of residence founded by the Dutch.

View the images of the Holland Festival below

Read all about the Phoenix disaster here

Joske made a documentary and a five-part podcast series about the disaster with the Phoenix. Read all about the Phoenix disaster here.

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