Lakeshore and Travel & Tourism

Dutch theme park adding outdoor event space

April 5, 2016
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Dutch Village terrace
Het Terras or “the terrace” is designed to accommodate up to 150 individuals for a single event, or three separate spaces for smaller parties of up to 50 people. Courtesy Dutch Village

Dutch Village will soon add “Het Terras” to its portfolio of amenities.

Nelis’ Dutch Village is breaking ground on the first phase of its latest addition to its original Dutch theme park next week, which will be approximately 1,800 square feet of designated corporate and community event space known as “Het Terras.”

The project

Het Terras or “the terrace” is designed to accommodate up to 150 individuals for a single event, or three separate spaces for smaller parties of up to 50 people. Some of the terrace amenities will include a covered pavilion, grilling station, countertop space and sink, electricity, paved patio and an outdoor fire pit.

Joe Nelis, owner of Dutch Village, said the project is more of a landscaping project rather than a new building structure.

“We’ve cleaned up the space … and going to roll out this project in three phases,” said Nelis. “The shade structure that we are going to build is very much like an arbor. It will provide shade and really be much more of a landscape project.”

The terrace’s tables, planter boxes and decorative accents will be constructed from reclaimed dock wood from the former Crescent Shores Marina in Holland.

“It has a really cool old character to it,” said Nelis. “It is going to have an Old World-vibe to it that is going to fit in nicely.”

The new event space is anticipated to open June 21, according to a press release.

The demand

Nelis indicated the new terrace space was prompted by a couple of factors, such as increased inquiries about event space and recognizing the potential impact of the upcoming construction project on U.S. 31.

“We had couple of planets align last year and it pointed to this. The first thing was that we started receiving more phone calls and inquiries about having these kinds of events: corporate events, family reunions, school functions, or church functions,” said Nelis. “The second was knowing the highway is going to be under construction this whole year … (and) wondering about how is that going to impact your business.”

Dutch Village also held an event for Holland-based LG Chem chemical plant, which turned out to be a success, according to Nelis.

“They just raved about it. We had a beautiful day and stayed open late for LG Chem,” said Nelis. “We rented tents and it cost about $1,000. We just really felt that we need to make this happen and we need to make this happen in the beginning of 2016.”

The park

Dutch Village is located on nearly 40 acres of land at 12350 James St. in Holland, where it has operated since 1952 as a retail outlet for tulip bulbs and souvenirs.

“In the past five or six years we have added a whole lot of fun stuff for kids 10 and under, and changed our focus to make it kind of a universal appeal for families wanting to spend an enjoyable day,” said Nelis. “It’s more than just coming and learning about the Netherlands a hundred years ago.”

Dutch Village now has more than 30 structures reflecting architectural influences from different provinces in the Netherlands, and features such new additions as Harry’s Windmill Ride, Petal Pumper Cars, Dutch dance lessons, Dutch cheese making, and a miniature zip line.

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