Dutch American Heritage Day is on Novmber 16
Only a few people know that the Dutch already settled in New Jersey and New York and called it New Netherlands before the English took over the Dutch province in 1664.
During the American War of Independence the Dutch were active allies of the American revolutionaries. Via the island of Sint Eustatius the Dutch gave the thirteen colony states one of the rare opportunities to acquire arms. In 1778, in the British parliament Lord Stormont said:” If Sint Eustatius had sunk into the sea three years before, the United Kingdom would already deal with George Washington”.
Only four months before the United States had declared, penned and signed its independence from the United Kingdom, an American warship, the Andrew Doria, sailed into the harbor of the Dutch Cariban island of Sint Eustatius. On November 16th 1776 the Dutch governor ordered that his fort’s cannons be fire in a friendly salute. This salute was the first ever given by a foreign country to the flag of the United States. This is known as The First Salute, and November 16th is Dutch American Heritage Day instituted by President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
• The Netherlands was the first nation to recognize the United States of America!
The Dutch influence on America also far outlasted the period of the colony and can be seen in the many Dutch places, architectural styles and street names in New York, New Jersey, and so on. They also brought their most famously Sinterklaas folklore, which became the foundation of the modern day Santa Claus.
Many American presidents had Dutch ancestry:
• Martin van Buren, was the eighth President of the United States. He was a key organizer of the Democratic Party and the first president who was not of English, Irish, Scottish, or Welsh descent. He is also the only president not to have spoken English as his first language, but rather grew up speaking Dutch.
• Theodore Roosevelt, was the 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt is most famous for his personality; his energy, his vast range of interests and achievements, his model of masculinity, and his “cowboy” persona. In 1901, he became President after the assassination of President William McKinley. Roosevelt was a Progressive reformer who sought to move the Republican Party into the Progressive camp.
• Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States (1921–1923). His mother’s ancestors were Dutch, including the well-known Van Kirk family.
• Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the 32nd President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945, and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. A central figure of the twentieth century, he has consistently been ranked as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents in scholarly surveys.
• George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, were the 41st and 43rd Presidents of the United States respectively. They count members of the Schuyler family and the related Beekman family among their ancestors.
And April 19 is Dutch-American Friendship Day, which remembers the day in 1782 when John Adams, who later became the second President of the United States, was received by the States General in The Hague and recognized as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America. At that day he also purchased the house at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 in The Hague that became the first American Embassy in the world.
Other Americans who had Dutch ancestry:
Walter Cronkite, Humphrey Bogart, Thomas Edison, Dick van Dyke, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Nina Foch, Bruce Springsteen, Jane Fonda, Audry Hepburn, Eddie van Halen.