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Photo of kids in Dutch costumes
Jake and Samantha Wassenaar dressed in authentic Dutch costumes in Pella's Central Park, May 1999

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Tulip Time
A Local Legacy

Many of the people who founded Iowa were from the Netherlands. Can you think of something the Netherlands is famous for that people might have brought with them? Hint: it's a type of flower.

If you answered "tulips," you would be right. You'd also be right to guess that Iowa still loves this springtime flower. So much so that the state holds a three-day Tulip Festival in the city of Pella to remember the sacrifices of the town's Dutch founding fathers.

Hendrik Pieter Scholte, born in 1805 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was the founder of Pella. Scholte was a minister who immigrated with his wife, three daughters and a following of 800 people to build their "City of Refuge" in America in the late 1840s. They came to seek religious freedom. They moved to a rural area and by necessity Scholte became a jack-of-all-trades. He laid out a plan for the town, chose names for the streets, and built a "make-do" church. He took care of legal affairs, started a lime and brick kiln and a sawmill, opened a bank, established a newspaper, and became the postmaster and the land agent. That's a lot of extra work for an already busy preacher! As you can tell, tulips were just one part of Dutch culture that Scholte and his followers brought with them to Pella.

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