Incorporated in 1907 and named after the Province of Zeeland in the Netherlands, Zeeland is located in western Michigan, approximately 25 miles west of Grand Rapids. The City has a population of 5,805 according to the 2000 census. City hall is located at 21 S. Elm Street in Zeeland. The city hall phone number is (616) 772-6400


Settling In. For Jannes Vande Luyster the expending of both his life and his assets to the settlement of Zeeland in 1847 was simply the overflow of his generous heart and willing hands. Selling all his physical assets in the Netherlands, Vande Luyster provided passage for those lacking the means. Upon arrival, he was also well equipped to select and purchase land and extend credit to those in need.

The familiarity of the Vande Luyster name and the recollection of his vision and efforts, however, has often overshadowed the Ottawa Indians--a present and prominent source of aid to the Zeeland immigrants.

Early Log Cabin - 1848

Friendly, peaceful and helpful, the Indians taught the first Zeeland settlers the skills of wilderness living; the snaring and hunting of wild game and , in particular, the unaccustomed work of felling trees, for

"the land was a majestic wilderness - an unbroken forest of tall pine, monster oaks and cedars, with Zeeland in the depths of this forest." (Zeeland Record, 1934)

The early immigrants, therefore, found their hardship lessened and their success advanced through the methods which the Indians taught for survival in such a harsh environment.

The early months for the Zeelanders held poverty, disease, and a scarcity of food. By the fall of 1847, however, their perseverance in the midst of these hardships resulted in the clearing of forest land for both the planting of crops and the building of 120 log homes. This job of clearing the dense forest was an all-consuming task, demanding weeks and months of daily effort as their tools were few and manual labor exhausting. Once cleared, the building of their homes could begin.

Construction of these log homes consisted of a general plan. Most were about 18 x 20 feet in size, with the use of split logs for flooring. A table, chairs, bedstead and fireplace completed the interior of these one-room homes.

© 2024 MichRIC, LLC. All rights reserved. All information contained herein should be deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All representations are approximate, and individual verification is recommended. Updated: Jun 24, 2024 3:35:pm.