Holland and Ottawa County sit in an attractive and historic agricultural area adjacent to the western Michigan shore of Lake Michigan. Religious oppression, good soil and a moderating lake influence attracted Dutch settlers in the mid-19th century. Fruit and vegetables are grown in the area, but it is most known for its tulips. The annual May tulip festival is a world attraction, and the fact that the local airport is named the Tulip City Airport gives a clue to the importance of this product. The town developed as a prosperous, well-kept Victorian-era farming community, and retains a lot of historic interest with a downtown on the National Register of Historic Interest and many fine period homes. The Dutch influence – the population was estimated at over 60 percent Dutch in the early 20th century -- is unmistakable.
Today Holland’s economy is propelled by tourism, agriculture, small businesses and an assortment of larger manufacturers making everything from pickles to plastics to pharmaceuticals. Two small colleges add some college amenities. Several beaches and state parks line the Lake Michigan coast. Grand Rapids, 20 miles northeast, is the closest cultural center, while Chicago is 2 ½ hours southwest. Cost of living is below average.
Holland is located on a flat, fertile coastal and agricultural plain. Lake Michigan heavily influences the continental climate, moderating temperatures in summer and winter and prolonging both spring and fall seasons. Summers are pleasant with frequent lake breezes and comfortable evenings. Winters are very cloudy, with numerous snow flurries and strong westerly winds. Below-zero temperatures occur occasionally but not for prolonged periods, and continuous snow cover is common. First freeze is early October, last is early May.