Holambra — the Netherlands in Brazil


Elenice tells us about the place she visited —
Holambra, a small town in Sao Paulo State, Brazil.

Hi Elenice.
How is it going for you?

Good… good…
I went to Holambra this weekend…
with my friends.
I like to visit different places
around Sao Paulo state.

Oh… I actually don’t know this place.
Where is Holambra?
Is it far from Sao Paulo?

No, it’s not far.
It’s about 130 kilometers
north-west of Sao Paulo.
It takes less than 2 hours
to get there by car.
And it’s less than an hour from Campinas.

phguereta at Flickr, CC-BY

I see… Yes, it is not very far.
What does the name, Holambra, mean?

Holambra… it’s really simple.
Holland… America… Brazil.

I see. Interesting.

Yes, it is very easy to remember
the name of the city.
Holambra — Holland, America and Brazil.

Is it an old city?
When was it founded?

Oh… it was founded in the 1940s.
The Dutch immigrants came here
after World War II.

It’s not a big city, isn’t it?
What’s the population of the city?

The population is only about
ten thousand people.

Fabricio de Souza Menegildo at Wiki Commons, CC-BY-SA

So, what makes Holambra famous?

Beautiful Dutch architecture.
Windmills.
Small shops and cafes.
And, of course, flowers.
Holambra is, actually,
one of the largest centers of
flowers and plants’ production
in Latin America.

cesar_camilla at Flickr, CC-BY

What kind of flowers?

Oh… many different flowers…
Orchids, roses…
And I like to explore souvenir shops there…
Restaurants with Dutch food…
There is also a place to see wildlife…
caymans and parrots.

OK, so did you have a chance to try
some Dutch food in Holambra?

Yes, I did.
We tried one traditional dish…
called “pork knee”…
it is served with potatoes and salad.
It was really delicious.

Yes, Holambra does look like
a quite and peaceful place, doesn’t it?

It’s quite and peaceful, for sure.
Also, it has one of the highest
quality of life standards in Brazil.
It’s quiet all year round,
except for a few days
during the flower festival — the Expoflora.
It’s in September.
One of the most famous flower shows
in Latin America.
And, every day there is a flower auction.
Like in the Netherlands.

phguereta at Flickr, CC-BY

I see. Are there many tourists in the city?

There are more tourists than locals.
In fact, the official name of the city is…
Estância Turística de Holambra…
or, literally, a Tourist Resort of Holambra.
There are 29 places in the Sao Paulo state
with this status.
Did you know that?

No, I didn’t know.

Yes, places like Ubatuba, Piraju…
Holambra is one of these tourist places.

phguereta at Flickr, CC-BY

Yes, I know…
The Sao Paulo state has a lot of interesting places to visit.
So, most local people in Holambra
are descendants of Dutch immigrants, right?

That’s right.
People there… in Holambra…
they still keep very strong community ties…
they work together to keep the city prosperous.
And, do you wanna know something amazing?
There is another Dutch colony in Sao Paulo State…
called Holambra II.

Really? Where is it?
Is it next to Holambra?

No, it is in a different part of Sao Paulo State.
Holambra is in the north…
and Holambra II is in the west.
It is in the small town called Paranapanema.

So, Holambra is not the only place in Brazil
where Dutch immigrants live?

No, of course, not.
There are many Dutch communities in Brazil.
Mostly in the South.
Castro in Parana.
Não-Me-Toque in Rio Grande do Sul.
People of Dutch ancestry in Brazil
are called Neerlando-brasileiros.
Dutch people built
some of the most productive and efficient
agricultural communities in the country.

anaperugini at Flickr, CC-BY

Interesting.
Very interesting.
Thank so much, Elenice.

No worries.
It’s a great place, Holambra.
You should visit it too.

Head image: Rosanetur at Flickr, CC-BY-SA