AWC Going Dutch April 2019


The monthly magazine of the American Women's Club of The Hague

The Story of Dutch-American

Friendship Day

by Roberta Enschede

“There are no friends more faithful than they.”

– John Adams

On the 19th of April 1782, the United Provinces

recognized the independence of the raggle-taggle

colonies that were to become the United States of America. John Adams, the feisty, determined

colonial man from Quincy, Massachusetts fought and cajoled and reasoned to make

Dutch Recognition of American independence a reality.

Ultimately, “De Heer Adams” succeeded. He became Minister Plenipotentiary, the first

American ambassador to the United Provinces. He was received by the States General and

the next day at Huis Ten Bos by William V, Prince of Orange. He wrote, “We have torn from

England’s bosom a faithful ally by availing ourselves of the still small voice of reason without

money—without credentials.”

Princes Margriet by members of Congress, Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Ben Gilman (R-NY).

The resolution was sponsored by Bill Alexander (D-AR) (Steny Hoyer, now the majority

leader in the House, came in his place) and Ben Gilman (R-NY). It was handwritten by an

artist calligrapher who proudly placed the wax seals of the US and the Netherlands upon it.

Thomas Boyleston Adams, President of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Charles

Francis Adams, direct descendants of John Adams, came over from Boston. The same day,

in Washington D.C., Her Majesty Queen Beatrix addressed a joint session of Congress.

On April 20, Her Majesty allowed the Huis Ten Bos to be opened. Charles Francis Adams

and Thomas Boyleston Adams were welcomed there 200 years to the day after their ancestor

“De Heer Adams” Minister Plenipotentiary was received by William V, Prince of


“The American cause has had a signal triumph in this country.” – John Adams

It was true in 1782. It was true in 1982. In 2019, we know—it is true today!

“There are no friends more faithful than they.” – John Adams

In 2007, on the 225th anniversary, Ambassador Pete Hoekstra, then Congressmen Pete

Hoekstra (R-MI) and Chris van Holland (D-MD) now Senator, introduced HR-89 reaffirming

Dutch-American Friendship Day.

“You will see, the American cause has had a signal triumph in this

country. If this had been the only action of my life, it would have been

a life well spent.” -John Adams

Message from the President (cont.)

Continued from page 8

He bought a house at Fluweleen Burgwaal 18, “suitable for a Hotel des Etats-Unis”. That

house became the first embassy the US ever owned. (The site is now a parking lot.)

On Dutch-American Friendship Day, we extol his “Signal Triumph”—237 years of unbroken

diplomatic relations—the longest continuous ties between the US and any nation. The idea for

Dutch-American Friendship Day began in September of 1981. There was talk and plans for

the Bicentennial of Dutch-American relations: business initiatives, projects, more business

initiatives. But, we asked, “What about history?”

In 1981, it was especially important to remember our history, our shared values, our “firm,

inviolable friendship.” The Cold War was a clear and present reality. The US wanted to deploy

48 cruise missiles in the town of Woensdrecht. Thousands of Dutch people protested on the

Malieveld and all over the country. A resolution declaring Dutch-American Friendship Day

would not mollify their concerns and fears. Nevertheless, it would be a fitting tribute.

What was drafted on a kitchen table in September 1981, was passed by both houses of Congress

in March 1982 and signed by President Ronald Reagan. HJ 410 (House Joint Resolution 410)

declared the 19th of April Dutch-American Friendship Day.

It passed just in time for the John Adams Dinner that would be held on the anniversary of

the Bicentennial. At the dinner, the first copy of the joint resolution was presented to HRH


FAWCO Biennial Conference that was held in

Edinburgh in March. It was my first FAWCO

conference and our Club had a large contingent

of Members attend, including Georgia

Regnault, Emily van Eerten, Anne van

Oorschot, Terri Mahoney, and Laurie

Brooks. In addition, Johanna Dishongh, a

former president of our Club who has repatriated,

is the US Issues Liaison for FAUSA,

the American arm of FAWCO.

I met incredible women from every

FAWCO region and 40 different clubs in

Edinburgh. The presidents’ sessions gave

me confidence that our Club is moving in

the right direction. I’ll discuss some of what I

learned in Edinburgh at our April meeting, the

ideas we shared, and why FAWCO remains a

relevant organization that all Members should

become more involved in, as it offers numerous

opportunities through its multifaceted

programs. If you’re not familiar with

FAWCO, I know Julie will be happy to share

why she became our rep, and I can explain

why I caught FAWCO Fever at the conference

in Edinburgh!

I hope to see you at one, or all, of the fun

events taking place this month.

Tot ziens,


APRIL 2019 33

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