Freedom Boat Club Comes to Holland, Michigan
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring the World’s Oldest, Largest and Original Boat Club to Holland” said Thomas Armon, President of Freedom Boat Club of Michiana. “It is a match nearly 30 years in the making and opens these historic waters for more people to enjoy.”
Join now, become a Holland Charter Member with special price incentives and fleece pullover! Learn more www.hasslefreeboat.com
Holland Michigan is rich in maritime history. Dutch settlers looking for a better life left the Netherlands in mid 1800’s … settling along the shores of Black Lake, now Lake Macatawa and Holland. Dutch heritage is deeply rooted in its connection to rivers & seas. The Netherlands has been a seafaring nation for over 5 Centuries. The Golden Age of the Dutch Navy dominated the seas through much of the 16th & 17th Century. Today, the Netherlands still leads in European Cargo tonnage transport through Europe. And of course, Holland America Cruise Lines maintains a stellar reputation as the world’s leading purveyor of pleasure cruise ships.
The Dutch settlers in Holland realized very quickly that for their new settlement to thrive, they needed adequate shipping access to Lake Michigan. After trying to obtain government aid, the determined Hollanders took up picks & shovels and went about digging the channel themselves. Once complete the channel connecting Lake Macatawa to Lake Michigan opened the area to lumber, fishing, and other forms of maritime trade. The channel today is guarded by “Big Red” one of the Great Lakes most pictured lighthouses and only one of 12 with “protected status”.
Over the years nearly 50 boat builders were connected or took roots in Holland. Iconic builders like Leon Slikkers and Christopher Columbus Smith not only established name brands like S-2 Yachts (Tiara/Pursuit) & Chris Craft … but engineered classic designs that are the foundation of many modern-day boat manufacturers