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Posts Tagged ‘Zeeland, the Netherlands, history’

This is another post which I dedicate to Yvette Hoitink at Dutch Genealogy.

I described in other posts that  Yvette Hoitink, a Dutch genealogist, quickly and easily found a wealth of information about the Zuidweg family–my grandfather’s Dutch ancestors. 

Where in the heck is Kalamazoo

I grew up hearing that expression (or a more direct variation of it which reminds with “bell”).  When Kalamazooans travel outside Michigan, they tend to hear people ask some version of the phrase.  Even today, living out west, I find myself being asked the same thing.  I do what I have always done:  open my right palm and point to the fleshy lower outside section.  “Right there.  That’s where Kalamazoo is.”

With the help of Yvette’s genealogical research, I can now say that approximately 3/8 of my more recent ancestors come from Zeeland, a Dutch province–and most significantly from the town of Goes.  When I was young my grandmother taught me how to say it.  With an H sound, instead of a G, and a double O (rhymes with “goose”), as if you’re blowing out air from the diaphragm.  I have no idea if that is the correct Dutch pronunciation, but that has been our pronunciation.  I never knew where it was located.  I didn’t even bother to look or to ask “where in the heck is Goes?”

I’m not sure I trust pronunciations which are passed on through the family.  My grandparents were “Grandma and Grandpa Zuidweg,” pronounced like Zould (as in “should”) and weg (as in . . . “weg”).  At some point my uncle and his family started pronouncing their own name to rhyme with the name “Ludweg.”  That sounds wrong to me, but then it’s their name and not mine.

Once you start looking back into the generations, my ancestors are a little more spread out.  This is what Yvette wrote in her report:

All the Dutch immigrant ancestors of Adrian Zuidweg were found in Dutch records. Using birth, marriage and death records from the civil registration, four generations of his ancestors were traced. For three ancestors, the family was traced one generation further. In total, all 16 great-great-grandparents and 6 g-g-g-grandparents of Adrian Zuidweg were traced. His ancestors came from different provinces in the Netherlands: Zeeland, Zuid-Holland and Overijssel.

Don’t forget:  Adrian Zuidweg, my grandfather, is two generations before me, so this is actually going back pretty far.

English: Map of The Netherlands (including the...

You can see from the map that Zeeland and Zuid-Holland are the two southernmost provinces along the North Sea.  According to Lonely Planet, these provinces are the areas that give rise to our stereotypical ideas of “Holland.”

These two provinces are home to some of the strongest imagery – and biggest clichés –

associated with the Netherlands. You want dykes? Uh-huh. Windmills? Yeah. Tulips? OK.

Well, alright fellas, let’s gooooo…

The Keukenhof gardens are a place of pilgrimage for lovers of the lancelike leaves and

bell-shaped, varicoloured flower of the tulip, and the Zuid (South) Holland area is great for

biking and hiking, with trails and paths everywhere. Meanwhile, the built-up beaches of

Noordwijk aan Zee and south to Scheveningen are popular with locals.

Further south, Zeeland (Sea Land) is the dyke-protected province that people often associate

with the Netherlands when they’re not thinking of tulips, cheese and windmills.

Middelburg is the centre, with a serenity belying its proximity to the tragedies that spawned

the Delta Project.

Zuid Holland’s major cities are the biggest attractions: there’s Leiden, with its university

culture and old town (and proximity to the bulb fields); Den Haag, with its museums, stately

air and kitsch beach; charming, beautiful Delft, the home of Jan Vermeer; and mighty Rotterdam,

blessed with an edgy urban vibe, gritty cultural scene, and innovative architecture.

Several smaller places are also worth your time: Gouda is a perfect old canal town, while

Dordrecht has its own surprises – for humans and sheep alike. Just east and south of Dordrecht

is Biesbosch National Park, a sprawling natural area along the border with Noord Brabant.

What I want to know is if Spiced Leyden cheese comes from Leiden.  It’s my favorite cheese.  My husband’s is Gouda.  And what do you know, but I have family photos taken in Gouda, including this one of a beautiful baby:

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