Holland, Michigan

Holland, Michigan
Nickname(s): The Tulip City

Location of Holland within Ottawa County, Michigan
Holland, Michigan

Location in the United States

Coordinates: 42°47′N 86°6′W / 42.783°N 86.100°W / 42.783; -86.100
Country United States
State Michigan
Counties Ottawa, Allegan
  Mayor Nancy DeBoer
  City 17.35 sq mi (44.94 km2)
  Land 16.59 sq mi (42.97 km2)
  Water 0.76 sq mi (1.97 km2)
Elevation 662 ft (202 m)
Population (2010)[2]
  City 33,051
  Estimate (2013[3]) 33,481
  Density 1,992.2/sq mi (769.2/km2)
  Urban 95,394
  Metro 1,016,603Grand Rapids-Wyoming metropolitan area
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 49422-49424
Area code(s) 616,269
FIPS code 26-38640[4]
GNIS feature ID 0628421[5]



Holland is a city in the western region of the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is situated near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan on Lake Macatawa, which is fed by the Macatawa River (formerly known locally as the Black River).

The city spans the Ottawa/Allegan county line, with 9.08 square miles (23.52 km2) in Ottawa and the remaining 8.13 square miles (21.06 km2) in Allegan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,051,[6] with an Urbanized Area population of 95,394.[7]

Holland is the largest city in Ottawa County, and as of 2013 part of the Grand Rapids-Wyoming-Muskegon Metropolitan Statistical Area. Holland was founded by Dutch Americans, and is in an area that has a large percentage of citizens of Dutch American heritage. It is home to Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, institutions of the Reformed Church in America.


Ottawa County was originally populated by Ottawa Indians. In 1846, Reverend Alex Tomasik established the Old Wing Mission as an outreach to the native population.

Holland was settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists, under the leadership of Dr. Albertus van Raalte.[8] Dire economic conditions in the Netherlands compelled them to emigrate, while their desire for religious freedom led them to unite and settle together as a group.[9]

Van Raalte and his colony settled on land in the midst of the Ottawa (Odawa) people's Old Wing Mission Colony near the Black River where it streamed to Black Lake (now Lake Macatawa) which, in turn, led to Lake Michigan. Joint occupation by the two communities was not a marriage made in heaven. Eventually, the Dutch settlers purchased the land from the natives, who moved north in an effort to preserve their way of life and culture.[10]

In 1848, Michigan suffered from a smallpox epidemic. In consideration of the massive influx settlers into the Ottawa County area, Chief Peter Waukazoo and Reverend George Smith decided to move the community as well as the Holland-area [11] Ottawa Mission from Holland up to Northport (on the Leelanau Peninsula) via on boats and canoes.

In Holland's early history, Van Raalte was a spiritual leader, as well as overseeing political, educational and financial matters. In 1847 Van Raalte established a congregation of the Reformed Church in America, which would later be called the First Reformed Church of Holland. On March 25, 1867,[12][13] Holland was incorporated as a city with Isaac Cappon being the city's first mayor. The city suffered a major fire on October 89, 1871, the same time as the Great Chicago Fire in Illinois and the very deadly Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin.[14] Because of the Great Michigan Fire (which included the Port Huron Fire of 1871), Manistee and Port Huron, Michigan also burned at the same time.

Dutch settlements in Michigan.

Holland was known as the "City of Churches."[15] There are 170 churches in the greater Holland area, many of which are with the Reformed Church in America and Christian Reformed Church in North America denominations. The city is the home to the church that started the trend of the "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets in 1989.[16] In 1987, a 23-year-old City Council member Phil Tanis was elected mayor of Holland, becoming its youngest mayor while he was still a Hope College student.


Tulip beds in downtown

The city is perhaps best known for its Dutch heritage, which serves not only as a part of the city's cultural identity, but the local economy as well: the Tulip Time Festival in May and various Dutch-themed attractions augment the nearby Lake Michigan shoreline in attracting thousands of tourists annually.

The Holland Museum contains exhibits about the city's history. Another, the Cappon House Museum, was built in 1874 and is a historic museum that once housed the first mayor of Holland, Dutch immigrant Isaac Cappon. The Settlers House Museum, a building that survived the great fire, contains furnishings and relics from the 19th Century.

Holland Harbor Light near Holland, Michigan.

Holland's downtown is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The "Snowmelt Project" established pipes transporting warm water from the nearby power plant to travel underneath downtown with the purpose of clearing the streets and sidewalks in the downtown area of any snow. Nearby Holland State Park is a Michigan State Park.

Across the channel from the State Park is the Holland Harbor Light, known as "Big Red." De Zwaan, an original 250-year-old Dutch windmill, is situated on Windmill Island, a municipal park. Its height is 125 feet (38 m) with 40-foot (12 m) sails. Holland boasts an annual Fiesta, organized by Latin Americans United for Progress, usually on the Saturday closest to May 5 (Cinco de Mayo). Holland is also host to the annual Tulipanes Latino Art & Film Festival, which is held to celebrate the Latino contribution to the culture.

In 2013, Farmer's Insurance named the Holland/Grand Haven Area the most secure mid-sized city in the United States.[17] In 2010, Holland was ranked the second healthiest/happiest town in the United States by the Well-being Index.[18] CNN Money named Holland as one of the top five places to retire in 2006.[19]


Main article: Tulip Time Festival
Tulips line the streets
Sign welcoming visitors
Lake Michigan beach at Holland State Park

Each May Holland hosts an annual Tulip Time Festival. Tulip planting and the festival began in 1930 when 250,000 tulips were planted for the event.[20] Currently six million tulips are used throughout the city. Tulips are planted along many city streets, in city parks and outside municipal buildings as well as at tourist attractions like Dutch Village, the city-owned Windmill Island Gardens, and at a large tulip farm named Veldheer Tulip Gardens. It is normally held the second week of May, right when the numerous tulips planted around the town are blooming. Cruise ships such as the Yorktown from the Great Lakes Cruising Company make Holland a port of call.[21][22]

About one million tourists visit Tulip Time each year, for which the community finds innovative ways to enhance self-funded projects. It has been ranked as America's third largest town festival and was named Reader's Digest's best small town festival.[23] The Tulip Time Festival has attracted big name acts in recent years such as: Christina Aguilera in 2000, O-Town in 2001, The Verve Pipe in 2004, and Jars of Clay in 2006. Ed McMahon visited Tulip Time in 2007 along with Bobby Vinton. Comedian Bill Cosby headlined the 2014 Tulip Time Festival.

Holland is located on Lake Macatawa, near the shores of Lake Michigan. Scattered along the shoreline are many public beach accesses. The best known are Holland State Park and Tunnel Park. Smaller beaches along Lake Michigan are present but not well marked. Public accesses are frequent along dead-end streets bordering the shoreline.

The city's primary shopping district is centered along 8th Street, the city's main street downtown. Retailers include a diverse selection of locally owned small businesses and restaurants including Home & Company, The Outpost and JB & Me, as well as national brands, such as White House Black Market, Jos. A Bank and Talbots. Restaurants include Lemonjello's Coffee, JP's Coffee, New Holland Brewing Company, Curragh Irish Pub, 84 East, Jimmy John's and many others.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.35 square miles (44.94 km2), of which 16.59 square miles (42.97 km2) is land and 0.76 square miles (1.97 km2) is water.[1]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201533,742[24]2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]
A graph showing the age distribution of Holland, MI

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 33,051 people, 12,021 households, and 7,593 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,992.2 inhabitants per square mile (769.2/km2). There were 13,212 housing units at an average density of 796.4 per square mile (307.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.0% White, 3.6% African American, 0.6% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 9.2% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.7% of the population.

There were 12,021 households of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.8% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.13.

The median age in the city was 31.7 years. 24% of residents were under the age of 18; 16.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.7% were from 25 to 44; 21% were from 45 to 64; and 13.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.


The City of Holland uses a council/manager form of government. The day-to-day operations of the city are under the supervision of the City Manager and his/her staff. The City Manager is responsible for selecting all department heads, preparation of the budget and supervision of all employees through his/her appointments.

The city manager serves at the direction of the Mayor and city council which are elected positions. The current city manager is Ryan Cotton, former village manager of Spring Lake, Michigan, who was appointed on Feb. 9 2012 by the council to replace retiring Soren Wolff, who announced his plans in the spring of 2011 and stepped down in September. Wolff served as the city manager since 1988, and as assistant city manager in the mid 1970s. The current assistant city manager is Greg Robinson. When Wolff announced his intentions to retire, Robinson was named interim city manager until Cotton was appointed to replace him.

Holland's city charter requires a mayor and eight city council members. The Mayor serves a two-year term, while two "at large" council members and six "ward" council members each serve four-year terms.

The current Mayor is Kurt D. Dykstra, elected in 2009 to replace long-serving mayor, Albert H. McGeehan. Prior to becoming Mayor, Dykstra was a five-year member of the Holland City Council, representing the city's fifth ward. He is a partner at Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based law firm. He earned his juris doctorate from Marquette University Law School and received his bachelor's degree from Northwestern College, in Orange City, Iowa, graduating magna cum laude.

The Holland Board of Public Works was created in 1883. It provides electricity, water and sewer services.[26]


Higher level academic institutions
Public schools
Private schools


Holland is home to the world's largest pickle factory. The H.J. Heinz Company has operated the factory at the same location since 1897 and currently processes over 1 million pounds of pickles per day during the green season. Holland was the birthplace of Slashdot, an influential early Internet weblog created by Hope College student Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda.


The city is serviced by two public airports, the recreational Park Township Airport (IATA: HLM, ICAO: KHLM), and the larger, corporate and charter jet West Michigan Regional Airport (IATA: BIV, ICAO: KBIV). Neither facility is served by regularly scheduled commercial carriers; the nearest airport with airline service is Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, about 35 miles northeast. The city also is served by regularly scheduled Amtrak service (the Pere Marquette) east to Grand Rapids and west to Chicago with connections to all points east and west.

The city and surrounding area is served by the MAX (Macatawa Area Express) transportation system, which offers both on-demand and high-speed bus service, linking different parts of the city as well as commercial, medical and government locations outside the city. This service evolved from the former "Dial-A-Ride Transportation" (DART) system.

The city is served by the following highways:

The channel between Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan allows pleasure craft and commercial boats, even bulk freighters, to access Holland's docks to unload coal, salt and iron scrap.





Fine Arts




Logo Club Sport League Venue Championships
Holland Blast Basketball International Basketball League Holland Civic Center None
Hope College Flying Dutchmen football College football Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Ray and Sue Smith Stadium

Sister cities

Notable people


  1. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  3. "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-06-17. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Holland, Michigan
  6. Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions, 2010 Census Estimates
  7. American Factfinder, Holland, MI Urbanized Area, ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2006
  8. Moore, Charles (1915). History of Michigan, Vol. I, pp. 529-31. The Lewis Publishing Company.
  9. Robert P. Swierenga (13 March 1997). "By the Sweat of our Brow: Economic Aspects of the Dutch Immigration to Michigan". swierenga.com. Museum Sesquicentennial Lecture Series. Holland, MI: A.C. Van Raalte Institute for Historical Studies, Hope College. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  10. Robert P. Swierenga and William Van Appledorn (2007). "Old Wing Mission: The Chronicles of the Reverend George N. and Arvilla Powers Smith, Missionary Teachers of Chief Wakazoo's Ottawa Indian Band in Western Michigan, 1838-1849". swierenga.com. Holland, MI: A.C. Van Raalte Institute for Historical Studies, Hope College. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  11. http://www.historygrandrapids.org/photo/1252/ottawa-band-seasonal-travel-ma
  12. Town charter has 1867 as date Archived June 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. Holland: The Tulip Town, Images of America by Randall P. Vande Water
  14. Wilkins, A. (2012-03-29). "October 8, 1871: The Night America Burned". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  15. "Holland, Michigan". citytowninfo.com.
  16. What Would Jesus Do WWJD Products Inspire Thousands, Christianity Today Library, November 7, 1997
  17. Farmers Insurance (23 October 2013). "Holland-Grand Haven, Michigan and Corvallis, Oregon Top Most Secure List Among Medium and Small... -- LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23, 2013". prnewswire.com. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  18. ABC News. "Michigan Town One of the Happiest Places in America - ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  19. "Best places to retire". CNN. 2006. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
  20. Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. Runk, David, Associated Press (July 11, 2006).Great Lakes cruises offer majestic views USA Today.
  22. Great Lakes Cruising Company. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  23. HollandGO.com
  24. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  25. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  26. "Holland BPW History". Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  27. http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20120408/NEWS/304089929
  28. "Conrad Biography". Lake Michigan Carferry. 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  29. "Luke Witkowski". NHL.com. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Holland (Michigan).

Coordinates: 42°47′N 86°6′W / 42.783°N 86.100°W / 42.783; -86.100

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