The History of Holland Road & Holland Village
Holland Road is a zone in the popular Bukit Timah area where Van Holland is located. It is situated next to Holland Village, a neighbourhood along the Queenstown-Bukit Timah Border. The district is famous for its nightspots, cafes and restaurants as well as the high number of expats. Initially, Holland Village was a field of nurseries and plantations on Lorong Mambong and Jalan Merah Saga. Just like its name suggests, Holland, the Dutch were the earliest communities to reside in this area. As a result, the area was named in commemoration of Hugh Holland. Hugh, one of the earliest inhabitants of Holland, was a respectable architect and an amateur actor.
Eventually, the neighbourhood started changing marked by occupation of the terrace and semi-detached houses, Chip Bee Gardens, by the members of the British army. As the population increased, establishment of shops and other services to cater for the needs of the foreigners became necessary. Later, many expatriates from the upper and middle class begun moving to Holland District.
Most of the families joined the prestigious clubs like the Tanglin Club, American Club, Swiss Club, and the Hollandse Club within the vicinity. With the growth of the district as a high-class residential area with huge potential, it attracted interests from developers who started setting up semi-detached houses and bungalows to meet the housing needs. Subsequently, business began to flourish due to its proximity to the city and the provision of essential services.
These developments resulted to what would become today the reputable Holland Village. For over three decades, the district as continued becoming a social heaven in the residential estate attracting several expats. The shops that were initially established in this place offered international school uniforms and expensive gourmet products.
Many years later, the European strong European influence in Holland Village can still be felt with the many marks left behind. One of the noticeable marks is the giant windmill sited on top of Holland V Shopping Mall. However, the mall has since been demolished to pave the way for a new building. There is also a small windmill that marks the front of Holland Village Market and Food Centre.
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Holland Village is regarded as the home of various lifestyle trends felt across Singapore. Rewinding the clock to the ’80s, the famous wine bars opening that was embraced nationwide begun here at Palm’s Wine Bar that was situated along Mambong. Still, in the ’80s, unique cafes like Milano Pizza (a successful chain during that time) and Batter Batter Café (renowned for its pancakes and butter-scotch) all emerged in Holland Village.
During the ’90s, Original Sin, a restaurant that shared owners with Michelangelo initiated fashionable vegetarian dining that soon became a national wave after its Australian-Italian owners came up with the first Mediterranean Vegan dining practice in the now Chip Bee Gardens.
The initial gourmet coffee shop in Singapore, Coffee Club, had its first shop outlet in Holland V in 1991 prior to the arrival of TCC, Coffee Bean, and Starbucks years later. Wala Wala, a sensation in Holland Village that has a wide customer base with thrilling night performances owes its origin this district.
Today, Jalan Merah Saga and Lorong Mambong along Holland Road are packed with some of the most popular and outstanding restaurants and pubs. Most of them have a high number of customers with fully booked rooms during the weekends.