Get a preview of new exhibits at Holland’s 2022 Tulip Time festival

HOLLAND – Two new attractions at this year’s Tulip Time festival feature works by Dutch artists making their US debuts.

The immersion garden designed by horticulturist Ibo Gülsen and the exhibition Zeeuws Meisje (Zeeland Girl) by Rem van den Bosch bring new elements to the 93rd annual celebration.

“A few years ago I had a desire to bring something from the Netherlands,” said Gwen Auwerda, executive director of Tulip Time. “That’s really what we relate to with Home Country, if you will.”

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Preparatory work to bring both exhibits to town began in 2019, but the pandemic has delayed their arrival until this year.

The Sentinel had the chance to speak with both artists before the start of the festival.

Immersive Garden

The Gülsen Immersion Garden is located at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. Over 50,000 tulips have been installed in a custom-designed garden for Tulip Time.

“We have done these immersion gardens in different places around the world, in Asia and Europe, attracting millions of people,” Gülsen said. “But for Holland, Michigan, we’re able to tell the story of the tulip and have a themed immersion garden called ‘The Journey of the Tulip,’ telling how it traveled from east to west.”

Tulips are part of renowned Dutch horticulturist Ibo Gülsen's Tulip Immersion Garden, Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds.  The project consists of nearly 50,000 tulips that are raised above the ground at eye level.

Holland’s garden took a few months to design, Gülsen said. The installation took place over three days with the help of volunteers.

Gülsen aims to provide a unique experience where people can be surrounded by tulips, rather than just seeing them on the ground.

“It’s a whole new way to appreciate and learn about flowers and tulips,” he said. “We bring them up close and personal, so it’s a different way to experience flowers, and it allows for these great photo opportunities. When you arrange it like this, you feel like you’re surrounded by flowers or walking through the valley, on a relatively small footprint. »

girl from zeeland

The Zeeland Girl exhibit, located at the Holland Armory, features photographs by van den Bosch and traditional dresses made by Wanda de Groot. The exhibition presents three series — Equality, Tulips and Fraternity.

The Zeeland Girl exhibition is held during the media day for Holland's Tulip Time Festival on Friday, May 6, 2022, at Holland Armory.  The exhibition features photographs by Dutch photographer Rem van den Bosch and specially designed dresses by Wanda de Groot.

Included are photographs, some up to 10 feet tall, hung throughout the armory, and traditional Dutch dresses. The Equality series features dresses in the colors of the rainbow, while the Tulips dress series is comprised of tulip photograph prints.

The overall message of the exhibit is to share the importance of coming together, accepting people for who they are, and caring for the environment.

Handmade dresses by Dutch dressmaker Wanda de Groot are part of the Zeeland Girl exhibit for Tulip Time on Friday May 6, 2022 at the Holland Armory.  The festival marks the American debut of the work.

“For me, it’s more than photography. It’s about bringing people together in a positive way,” van den Bosch said. “What I really hope people take away from this experience is that you treat your mate the way you would like to be treated yourself. Always be open to the world and others in a positive way.

“It’s not just the interaction between people, but the interaction between people and the world and how we deal with the world.”

“It’s very important that people take care of each other and talk to each other,” de Groot said. “Culture is where you come from. It’s nice to see. The culture puts a smile on everyone’s face, and that’s what we hope to do.

Traditional Dutch dressmaker Wanda de Groot and her son Michael Dekker pose for a portrait inside the Zeeland Girl exhibition on Friday May 6, 2022 at the Holland Armory.  The exhibition features several handmade dresses by de Groot.

Both events are sold out with a limited number of tickets. Tickets are available at

Auwerda said both exhibitions will provide great experiences for festival-goers.

“(The Immersion Garden) is immersive, so you can walk around it,” she said. “Tulips are intertwined in heights and in different colors and varieties.

“(Zeeland Girl) is just a stunning exhibition with models with costumes as well as very large printed pieces. There is quite a story behind the three different sections of the exhibition.

— Contact journalist Mitchell Boatman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.

Julia P. Cluff