Tulip Time Celebration lives on in art at Royal Park Place

Two men hold a holland tulip time poster

Royal Park Place Community Manager Jeff Zylstra poses with David Dirkse and the latest artist-autographed Holland Tulip Time poster. The 1982-2019 collection of posters will be displayed at Royal Park Place in honor of David’s parents, Alvin and Sena Dirkse.

The Holland Tulip Time celebration is a special tradition for the city of Holland, Michigan, and the surrounding areas, including Zeeland. Jeff Zylstra, Community Manager at Royal Park Place, our Retirement Living community in Zeeland, shared the following:

Over the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of attending many funeral services. As I enter the funeral home or church, I am almost always greeted by beautiful bouquets of flowers–some elaborate, some simple, but all given by someone special, in memory of someone special.

But, like all living things, the time comes when even these gestures of remembrance fade and die. That is, unless, the flowers given in memoriam are not living! This is the story of one man’s lasting memorial to his parents.

When I joined Royal Park Place in 1993, Alvin and Sena Dirkse had already lived here for a few months. They welcomed me immediately and we got to adjust to our new “family” together.

Having moved from 31st Street in Holland, their son David recalls, “Dad was against the move from the beginning, but I can tell you after a year, you could never have moved him again. What a great place to live.”

Three years later, Alvin Dirkse passed away and in 2007, Sena Dirkse passed.

Shortly after saying our final farewell to Mrs. Dirkse, I was met at Royal Park Place by David. David said that he had been purchasing the “artist autographed” Tulip Time Posters since the mid-nineteen nineties and had a “great idea” to find and purchase those that preceded his collection. By putting the word out in Holland and on WHTC’s Talk of the Town, he eventually had them all: 1982-2008!

What a great accomplishment – sixteen years of Tulip Time memories captured in a diverse collection of beautiful posters highlighting Holland’s favorite flower. Sixteen unique posters, all displayed at David’s house on Waukazoo Drive.

And here lies the dilemma! David loved the posters and wanted to keep collecting them and displaying them, but one house can only hold so many posters. He began to consider other places where his collection could be displayed and appreciated. According to David, “The perfect choice was to ask Royal Park if they would accept the posters as a gift and display them in their hallways.”

After considering David’s offer (for less than a second), I enthusiastically told him that we would be humbled and honored to accept his gift in memory of his parents. He then promised to continue purchasing and framing future posters and donating them each year to Royal Park Place.

David said, “If feels good to bring the new one in each year, with all the great memories of my Mom and Dad, living in such a secure, clean, and well-run establishment.”

So every year in mid-April, David Dirkse makes a visit to Royal Park Place and leaves the newest artist-autographed Tulip Time poster for everyone to enjoy! It is truly one place where the tulips never die.

If you would like to visit Royal Park Place and see all of the Tulip Time Posters from 1982-2019, there will be a special Open House on Monday evening, April 29th, at 7 p.m., where Gwen Auwerda, Executive Director of Holland’s Tulip Time Festival, will share the history of the Tulip Festival Posters. David Dirkse will also be recognized for his ongoing and generous donations to Royal Park Place.

For those who cannot make it to the Open House, the Tulip Time posters will also be on display from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Main Lobby of Royal Park Place from April 29-May 3, 2019.