The largest city in Ottawa County, and just outside of Grand Rapids, Holland sits along the shores of Lake Macatawa, just off the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
The first settlers to arrive in Holland arrived in 1847, in the form of Dutch Calvinist separatists, led by Dr. Albertus van Raalte. They settled in the midst of the native Ottawa Tribe’s land, which quickly led to tensions between the two groups. The Dutch eventually purchased the land from the Ottawa tribe later that year.
Holland Public Schools operate seven schools in the community, including an early childhood center, four K-7 schools, and two high schools, serving grades 8-12. The community is also home to two private schools: Grand Haven Christian School and St. John’s Lutheran School. Secondary education is offered in Holland at four colleges: Grand Valley State University, Davenport University, Hope College and Western Theological Seminary. Amtrak service to Chicago and Detroit is available in nearby Grand Rapids.
The Dutch culture upon which Holland was founded is still intact today. The uniqueness of Holland drives tourists from southwestern Michigan and beyond, who flock to see the various Dutch-themed events and attractions. The most notable festival is the Tulip Time Festival, which features six million tulips, and takes place throughout the city every May. This festival draws over a million tourists every May, and as such, has been ranked as the best small town festival by Readers Digest. Its location along Lake Macatawa makes Holland a prime spot for summer water activities, with numerous public beach access points. In 2010, Holland was ranked the 2nd happiest and healthiest town in the United States by the Well-Being Index.