Dutch-American Heritage Day is fast approaching (Nov. 16), so whether you’re Dutch or American, pop open an ice cold Grolsch and toast to the year 1776 when the Netherlands became the first country to officially salute the newly-independent United States.
In that year on Nov. 16, the governor of St. Eustatius — a Dutch island in the West Indies — ordered his fort’s cannons to pay tribute to an arriving American warship, the Andrew Doria. This risky and courageous act solidified the two countries’ friendship in history. Only months before, the United States had declared independence from Great Britain.
The Dutch salute was the first friendly act upon the new American nation from a foreign power. The British, angry at the Dutch for trading with the colonies, seized the island a few years later. The Dutch recaptured St. Eustatius in 1784.
So join the 8 million Dutch-Americans and celebrate the contributions you and your ancestors have made to the United States — beginning with the “first salute” in 1776 and continuing each day as the United States and the Netherlands work together to bring peace and freedom to the world.
If you need another excuse to drink, April 19th is Dutch-American Friendship Day. That’s when President John Adams, establishsied the first American Embassay at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 in The Hague.