The Holland Area

Photo of windmillThe Holland area with its natural beauty and economic energy is one of the country's most desirable locations to raise a family or start a business. Holland is a major contributor to the extraordinary prosperity of the entire West Michigan economy; the area continues to attract new businesses while nurturing the preservation and growth of existing businesses.


The area is home to excellent schools, hospitals, cultural organizations and civic groups. Progressive local governments have promoted well-planned growth while encouraging stewardship of the local natural resources.


Holland is a very different place than it was when the Ottawa Indians paddled their canoes to shore. However, one thing has been constant; no matter how or when you arrive, it continues to be a beautiful and prosperous place to establish roots.


The area's moderate climate, fertile soil, vast forests, Lake Michigan, and inland lake and river trade routes attracted generations of Native American settlements to the Lake Macatawa area. In the mid-1800s, those attributes also attracted the Rev. Albertus Christiaan Van Raalte and his congregation of 60 Dutch Protestants.


They were among hundreds of thousands of European immigrants fleeing famine, taxation and religious persecution, risking the dangers of an Atlantic ship crossing in search of opportunities in the New World.


The Van Raalte colonists built log cabins and huts made of hemlock boughs; their little settlement was the foundation of what is today Holland, Michigan. Similar groups of Dutch immigrants followed and settled on land purchased from the U.S. government or Ottawa Indians. A group of 425 settlers founded the village of Zeeland in 1847.


Holland's population had grown to 1,700 by October 1847 and continued to grow, especially when two railroads announced they would be extending rails to Holland. Incorporated as a city in 1867, the community was demolished by a devastating fire in 1871.


The citizens of Holland quickly rebuilt their community, replacing buildings destroyed in the blaze and adding new homes and shops. Most newcomers to the town were from the Netherlands, and by late 1920s, Holland's population was 90% Dutch.


Throughout the 20th century, Holland's assets continued to attract new settlers; demographics changed to include many Hispanic, Asian and African heritages. The community continues to welcome a diversity of new residents and businesses.


Holland offers an array of exciting venues for you and your family to enjoy - from the Lake Michigan shores to our award - winning downtown shopping district.


Holland's rich Dutch heritage and multi-cultural composition is reflected in our annual festivals, events, shops and special exhibits. Home to an incredible array of recreational opportunities, Holland attracts millions of visitors each year.


People come to see the beautiful fall colors, to bike, walk or run on the endless miles of bike paths, or to cross-country ski or sled on snow covered slopes.


Other visitors come to climb the dunes, hike through hundreds of acres of parks, bird watch at Van Raalte Farm and to visit cultural sites or spend an afternoon browsing through shops on our snow melted streets.


Yet others come to do business because Holland's economy keeps turning, just like a well-maintained Dutch windmill.


 For more information on the Holland Area, visit the Holland Chamber of Commerce. 

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