When sports teams come to Holland, Michigan, they will feel as if they have been transported to another world. This small city on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan features beautiful beaches and natural landscapes, as well as loads of Dutch history and culture. And while these features are major draws for Holland as a vacation spot, the city also offers tons of amenities that cater to sports, including elite facilities, a helpful staff at the convention and visitors bureau and a supportive community that loves athletics.
“Holland is a community [that is] very, very supportive of sports,” says Wendy Link, sales and marketing manager at the Holland CVB. As a result, Holland has some high-quality sports facilities that serve all kinds of events and tournaments. On top of what is in the community, the city also utilizes venues at Hope College, which has some of best facilities in the region.
The area has hosted some major tournaments, such as the Michigan High School State swim meets and Division 3 NCAA swim finals at its Aquatic Center, Division 3 NCAA women’s final four basketball, NCAA women’s volleyball and the Tulip Tip Off basketball event that brings in nearly 40 teams. Other events have included the city invitational gymnastics meet, the Great Lakes hockey tournament, high school state tennis finals and even a collegiate ice-sculpting competition. Holland has a solid lineup of sports tournaments coming up, and it is always looking to bring in more.
Top Sports Facilities in Holland
Hope College’s DeVos Fieldhouse
DeVos Fieldhouse at Hope College is home to men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball. It serves the community for local events, as well as state and national tournaments. It is designed to seat approximately 3,400 fans. Hope College has several other sports facilities that host Holland sports tournaments, such as Ekdal J. Buys Athletics Complex, DeWitt Tennis Center, Boeve Baseball Stadium and Wolters Softball Stadium.
Holland Aquatic Center
The 50-meter pool includes a moveable bulkhead that can be changed to create different configurations depending on the needs of each event. The Olympic-size pool has been used for regional, state and national swimming competitions, but can also be used for fitness classes and recreational activities.
Matt Urban Sports Complex
The 23-acre park has four lighted softball fields, a soccer field, two basketball courts, and two sand volleyball courts. It also features three playgrounds, picnic shelters and concession stands. It is one of the most popular spots for baseball and softball tournaments, as well as soccer and flag football matches and sand volleyball competitions.
Maplewood Youth Complex
Maplewood mostly caters to youth sports. It has a Little League baseball field, youth softball fields and a youth soccer field, as well as open play fields for practice and training.
Holland Charter Township
Holland Charter Township is just outside the city of Holland and has several parks, each equipped with sports fields. Quincy Park has four Little League fields, two soccer fields and two softball fields. Helder Park has two softball fields and five soccer fields.
Major Area Attractions
In the summer, the beaches along Lake Michigan offer a relaxing escape where families can sit back and enjoy a lazy afternoon by the water. The lake offers plenty of recreational activities, such as kayaking, boating, swimming and fishing.
Visitors interested in culture and history can check out historic downtown Holland, which is “extremely popular with over 120 little shops and galleries and restaurants,” says Link. A key attraction is Windmill Island Gardens, an oasis at the edge of the city with a 250-year-old working Dutch windmill called “De Zwaan.” The area boasts thousands of tulips that bloom in the spring, an antique Dutch carousel and a miniature Little Netherlands Village.
Getting Here & Getting Around
Holland is centrally located and easy to get to from much of the country. It is 140 miles from Chicago and 170 from Detroit. Gerald Ford International Airport is about 40 minutes away in Grand Rapids and is served by major airlines. Once in town, the best way to get to each event is by car or rented van. Luckily, Holland is small and easy to navigate.
When sports planners are putting together an event in Holland, the visitors bureau makes it a priority to help in any way it can. The staff will help find the perfect venue for the event, as well as lodging and the best hotel rates. They will put together information for the tournament web page or for each of its participants, which will include rates and places to stay in town. Once teams arrive, the bureau will greet them with welcome bags complete with maps, information on local businesses and coupon booklets. For really big events, local businesses will put signs welcoming the tournament or organization, helping to promote the event and make teams feel appreciated.
In addition to services provided by the visitors bureau, sports organizers and teams will find support from the community. Many people will come out and volunteer to help with all kinds of events.
As a sports destination, Holland has a lot going for it. Along with its great location, it has gorgeous beaches, a vibrant downtown, Dutch attractions, and some of the best sports venues in Western Michigan. Bottom line: Holland is fun, and sports planners will find that they will get a lot of participation in their events when they choose it for a tournament.
– by Vanessa Day