A Brief History Of Holland Village, Singapore

Holland Village Food Court | © Dickson Phua/www.flickr.com
Holland Village Food Court | © Dickson Phua/www.flickr.com
Photo of Prianka Ghosh
14 November 2016

These days, the main area of Holland Village in Singapore is synonymous with wine bars, trendy restaurants and creative cafés popular with the expat crowd. While the area has always catered towards expat families, more recently it has become popular with young Singaporean locals as well.

Holland Village, conveniently located in the center of the city, was first established as a Dutch community; originally founded in the early 1900s, this neighborhood in the Bukit Timah region of Singapore was used for plantation estates. The neighborhood was named after Hugh Holland, an architect and amateur actor who lived in the area.

Paintings in Holland Village MRT © Dickson Phua/Flickr | Centre of Holland Village © Dickson Phua/Flickr | Contemporary art sculpture in Holland Village Park © William Christiansen

Eventually in the 1950s and 1960s, the neighborhood community began to change and most of the houses in the area, now known as Chip Bee Gardens, became home to members of the British army and their families. With Holland Village located near Orchard Road and Tanglin Road (other popular neighborhoods with expat families), the shops and services in the Village were initially established to meet the needs of foreign families.

As developers saw the potential of the estate, they built colonial bungalows and other detached homes for these families while shop proprietors established stores that met the specialised needs of the expat clientele. This proximity to the city and establishment of specific services is what led to Holland Village becoming what it is today; a social haven for expats who live in the area.

To this day, signs of European influence can be seen in Holland Village. The most obvious is the giant windmill that sits on top of the Holland V Shopping Mall, as well as a smaller windmill marking the front of the Holland Village Market and Food Centre. The neighborhood further retains its European charm with an array of cafes and on the weekends situated on the main street, Lorong Mambong, which is closed to vehicle traffic allowing restaurants to set up large, sociable, al fresco eating and drinking spaces.

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