Two new books with Dutch-American biographies


Two new e-books about famous Dutch-Americans are now available on Amazon. The author, Professor Emeritus Carl Pegels of the University at Buffalo, is a well-known researcher of Dutch-Americans who has written numerous books and articles.

Last year Mr. Pegels published "Prominent Dutch American Entrepreneurs", which had an emphasis on business people and entrepreneurs. The two new books, which are only available electronically, expand the scope of the biographies and discuss Dutch-American who became famous through arts, science and sports, and government, military, history and philosophy respectively.

The book includes famous names such as Bogart, Brando, Fonda and Clint Eastwood. Some of the subjects are born in the Netherlands; others are more remote descendants of immigrants.

In Mr. Pegel's words: "The book honors those who have contributed to the development of the United States from colonial days until the present at both the governmental level as well as at the private level. In other words, the book is a statement about the history of Dutch Americans and the imprint they have left on this country. In many instances they are still doing so today."

Fascinating snapshot of Dutch-American lives

The biographies give a fascinating snapshot of Dutch-American lives throughout the ages. Starting in the 1700's, the life-stories of these Americans with such different walks of lives provide insight in how immigrants and descendants of immigrants made America their home and were successful in their fields.

Prominent Dutch American Achievers: Government, Military, History and Philosophy - E-book on
Prominent Dutch American Achievers: Arts, Science and Sports - E-book on

C. Carl Pegels, University at Buffalo
$2.99 each.

50 years Holland America Club of the Pacific Northwest


The Holland America Club of the Pacific Northwest is celebrating its fifty year anniversary this November. While membership has declined from its peak of 600 members, the club is still going strong.

Spokesman Stefan Adelaar explains: "The club officially started 60 years ago but did not get incorporated till 1962. Its mission is to represent the Dutch culture the best way possible. Events include a Sinterklaas celebration, a New Years borrel, a Summer Picnic, a Queens Birthday party and a Senior Luncheon". The club used to publish magazine for its members, the Wind Mill, but nowadays communication is done electronically.

Says Stefan: "It’s hard to keep track of actual membership since we switched to a non-paying membership base. However, we now have an email following of 200 through the HAC list and close to 600 members on the Dutch Seattle website."

New Dutch immigrants

The Seattle area saw an influx of Dutch immigrants during the 90s and 2000s mostly because of the fast growing Puget Sound economy, largely due to Boeing and Microsoft. The new millennium also brought more access to "home" via different forms of communications. The Internet made it easier to keep tabs on family and current events in Holland. Communication between members became easier as well. The club adjusted to these changes and in 2011 switched from a paid membership organization to a non-paying base, with communication within the Dutch community mainly through the online DutchSeattle website and email.

Anniversary celebration

An official celebration is planned for Saturday, October 20th. The dinner and dance party will be held at the Novelty Hill Januik Winery.

Holland America Club of the Pacific Northwest
Dutch and

Election results Dutch voters in the USA 2012


The official results of last week's election for Dutch parliament were released today and the report includes a breakdown of votes by Dutch citizens in the USA.

The official results show that about 7,700 votes were issued through Dutch embassies world-wide. The Embassy in Washington, DC saw the biggest turnout with 2,379 votes. That is 36% higher than two years ago in 2010, when 1,767 votes were cast.

A big part of the increase went to D66, most likely due to the campaign by D66 candidate Eelco Keij who traveled throughout the USA and the Netherlands to gain support for his expat-friendly platform.

In total, there were 2,379 votes (13 blank or invalid); here are the results:

  • VVD: 757
  • PvdA: 330
  • PVV: 65
  • CDA: 91
  • SP: 105
  • D66: 748
  • GL: 163
  • CU: 47
  • SGP: 6
  • PvD: 29
  • Piraten: 9
  • 50PLUS: 6

We left out parties that received less than 5 votes.

New Dutch Ambassador to the United States


Mr. Rudolf Bekink was formally accredited this week as the new Dutch Ambassador to the United States. He presented his Letters of Credence to President Obama on Monday.

In press release Mr. Bekink spoke of the historical ties between the two countries. "It's a great honor to represent the Netherlands in the United States. Our countries have a strong bond that spans more than four centuries and continues to thrive today. The Netherlands is the 3rd largest foreign investor in the U.S. and we have a vibrant partnership in many areas such as peace and security and economics. I look forward to strengthening our ties further,” said Ambassador Bekink.

His predecessor, Mrs. Renee Jones-Bos, returned to the Netherlands this summer and is now Secretary-General for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A return to the United States

Ambassador Bekink's posting to Washington is a return to the U.S., where he served as the First Secretary to the Embassy's political department from 1982 to 1986. Prior to this new posting in Washington, Ambassador Bekink served as the Dutch Ambassador to three countries: the People's Republic of China (2008-2012); Belgium (2004-2008); and Sweden (2000-2004).

Throughout his 36-year diplomatic career, Ambassador Bekink has served as the Chargé d'Affaires in Ghana; Deputy Head of Division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs; Deputy Head of Mission to the Mission of the Dutch Permanent Representation to the Office for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris; and Director of Protocol for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Bekink is married to Austin business woman Gabrielle de Kuyper Sheshunoff.

Wreath-laying at the Korean War Veterans Memorial


From our correspondent Jaap Bosman.

With a wreath-laying ceremony in Washington, D.C. this Saturday, officials from South Korea and the Netherlands paid tribute to the Dutch soldiers who fought in the Korean War. Although the conflict has not been formally resolved to this day, an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. The ceremony was held at the at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, in D.C.'s West Potomac Park, near the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall.

Freedom is not free

The Korean War Veterans Memorial dates from 1986 and honors members of the armed forces who served in the war.

"The words on this wall, 'Freedom Is Not Free', express gratitude for the service of members of the military," said Air Commodore Tom de Bok, the Netherlands Defense Attaché.

During the ceremony, a detachment of the Dutch 12th Infantry Battalion marched with the colors of the Dutch Korea veterans, the Nederlands Detachement Verenigde Naties (NDVN). The day before, a similar ceremony was held on Arlington Cemetery.

Rudolf Bekink, the new Ambassador Appointed, was present in one of his first public appearances in the United States. Mr. Bekink will present his formal credentials tomorrow, July 30th, to President Obama at the White House.

Frank Amaro of the Italian American War Veterans Department Of Illinois said that ceremony in 2013 will be larger, since it will mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice.

Bilingual children's book: Thuis bij Betty & Cat At Home


Thuis bij Betty & Cat At Home is a new book for bilingual children about the life of Betty, a Dutch-speaking dog, and Cat, who speaks English.

The book, written by Hennie Jacobs and illustrated by Madeleine van der Raad, was released in November last year and we received a review copy.

Targeting bilingual children -- and their relatives

Hennie Jacobs explains: "I originally targeted the book to grandparents, aunts and uncles of children being brought up bilingually - I thought they might feel left out of the bilingual experience, if their English wasn't so hot any more. It was meant to be read together. For example, one person taking on the role of the cat, the other the dog -- the book is not translated."

Hennie Jacobs herself became bilingual virtually overnight at the age of six as a Dutch immigrant to Montreal. An advertising copywriter, Hennie teaches English as a second language.

Betty and Cat really do exist, and the are the inspiration for the book. It is quite popular: "In fact, it turns out it's a big hit for mixed-language couples, in which the non-Dutch speaker may feel left out. We did a reading at The English Bookshop in Amsterdam in April, and that's who was there: mum's whose husbands are Dutch, whose kids are in Dutch schools, and who are learning Dutch. This book lets them participate, and builds confidence."

A review by 3-year old Stephanie

Stephanie, a bilingual 3-year old who we asked to do a review, greatly enjoyed the book. John, her father, explains: "Stephanie finished reading the book. It's a great concept, and it was fun to see how Betty the dog speaks Dutch and Cat English. The story is mainly about the difference between cats and dogs. Stephanie enjoys stories about animals, especially talking animals.

From my perspective as a father who is raising his daughter bilingually in an English-language environment, I noticed that Stephanie was a bit confused at first: normally I try hard to only speak Dutch with her and I make a point of always reading to her in Dutch. With that, switching language on every page was a little strange in the beginning. But in the same way as Dora Explorer (who speaks English and Spanish here in the U.S.), it turned out to be no problem at all for Stephanie."

Over-all, it's highly recommended, especially for parents of young polyglots!"

Plans for a series

The book is an easy read at 24 pages; subsequent books are meant to be 28 pages. Hennie says she is planning to write several more in the series: "There is a second written, In het Bos met Betty & Cat in the Forest, and a third, which I feel is a bit noir: Naar de Kennel met Betty & Cat in the Kennel."

Thuis bij Betty & Cat At Home
Hennie Jacobs and Madeleine van der Raad
November 2011
24 pages, $9.95 (shipping to the U.S.: $3.15)

Dutch-language newspaper for North America shuts down after 58 years


Dutch-language newspaper The Windmill Herald will cease operations next month, according to publisher Albert van der Heide. The newspaper, which under various names has been in operation since 1954, has seen its readers number dwindle due to demographic developments and has not been self-supporting for several years.

In an interview with the Dutch International Society yesterday:

"We were able to slow the effects of a nearly inevitable greying readership with an English-language section in The Windmill Herald," said Albert van der Heide who purchased the paper in 1969, five years after coming to Canada as a teenager. "We keep hearing from grandchildren of 1950s Dutch immigrants interested in their heritage and roots, but not enough to sustain the paper in its current format," he said."

The paper, which is published twice-a-month, dipped increasingly into red ink as the Canadian dollar moved to parity with its U.S. counterpart and as postal rates and technology costs going up.

The only remaining Dutch-language newspaper for North America is now De Krant, whose publisher we interviewed in August 2011.

Open letter

The publisher made the announcement with an open letter in this week's edition:

"Over the past four years, there have been numerous reports of newspapers and magazines ceasing to publish, citing various reason, including declining subscriber numbers, shrinking advertising income and rising costs. The Windmill Herald has not been immune from these either. The hard truth of the matter is that the Windmill Herald has not been self-supporting for a number of years. We have come to the conclusion that a turn-around is not likely any time soon. Hence the decision to cease publication.

We are very grateful for the significant support The Windmill Herald received over the years. Collectively, subscribers took care of over half our annual budget. That was the case in 1970 and that remains the case today, no doubt the envy of most specialty newspaper publishers. Similarly, the (Dutch immigrant) business community has been very supportive throughout the years. The readership and the advertisers were huge positive factors in our ability to publish without any interruptions. Also the Windmill Herald's suppliers, employees and contributors played their roles very well. They all deserve a round of applause.

Founded in 1954 in Ontario as Hollandia News and in 1958 in British Columbia as Goed Nieuws with regional readerships, the Windmill Herald gained, thanks to reader involvement in the 1970's and forward, a significant continent-wide readership, served by three editions, Western Canada, Central and Atlantic Canada, and the USA. Without this help from the subscribers, the Windmill Herald would definitely not have survived this long.

The Windmill Herald (Western Canada edition) was first published as Goed Nieuws in 1958. The Windmill Herald (Central and Atlantic Canada edition) as Hollandia News in 1954. Windmill Herald (USA edition) was launched in 1990 and the English section, later supplement the Windmill Post, in April 1980.


In closing, it has been a privilege to serve the community in this capacity for exactly 43 years. As publisher of The Windmill Herald, I thank my family for their unwavering support of the decades. We acknowledge the Giver of all Life as the One who gave us the ability, strength and courage, this in spite of a serious health challenge in 1980. Please join me in giving Him all the Glory, and attribute any and all of the many shortcomings to me.

A. A. (Albert) van der Heide
Publisher and Editor"

Government collapses -- dual citizenship law shelved


Prime Minister Rutte has offered the resignation of his cabinet to the Queen, preparing the country for new elections in September. The proposed restrictions on dual citizenship for Dutch citizens are now on hold. This is great news for Dutch citizens abroad who were at risk of being unable to keep their Dutch citizenship when applying for that of their new home countries.

Dual citizenship law considered "controversial issue"

The 18-month old coalition between the conservative-liberal VVD and the Christian democratic CDA was supported by the far-right PVV. The Netherlands is in danger of breaking the 3% rule imposed by the European Union and the three parties were negotiating new budget cuts. Those talks broke down unexpectedly on Saturday and the PVV revoked its support for the coalition.

New elections will most likely be held on September 12. Until that time, the VVD and CDA will formally remain in power but will no longer take on "controversial issues". It is now clear that both VVD and CDA, as well as most opposition parties, consider the proposed law "controversial" which means it will no longer progress. A May 15 meeting to discuss the proposal has been canceled.

CDA: "A PVV thing"

The main opposition parties have always opposed the restrictive law and in recent days the governing parties seem to have come around as well. CDA spokesperson Mirjam Sterk said in an interview with Dutch newspaperDe Telegraaf about the proposal: "That is a kind of PVV-thing that we've always found difficult".

Eelco Keij, the main organizer of the protests against the law: "Recently, the VVD made clear they were struggling with the proposal, and it was a courageous thing to air those disagreements."

New elections

The elections in September will determine the shape of the new coalition. It seems unlikely that the PVV will be part of a coalition again, which bodes well for those who are in favor of dual citizenship. For more information on how to cast your vote while abroad, contact your local Consulate or Embassy or read more information in Dutch at

Controversial dual citizenship law before Dutch parliament


Last Friday the Dutch government sent the contested bill regarding dual nationality to parliament for a vote -– despite concerns expressed by thousands of Dutch people worldwide.

The controversial law would severely restrict the ability for Dutch citizens to hold another citizenship, and would impact many thousands of Dutch-Americans and Dutch nationals worldwide. Earlier reports that the new minister does not consider this bill to be a priority turned out to be incorrect.

Call for action

The action group Nederlander Blijven is calling on all Dutch citizens to contact their representatives in Dutch parliament:

"There are still several phases in parliament that need to be dealt with before the bill can be put up to a vote. During these phases it is of utmost important that each spokesperson of each political party is well informed about the various downsides of this piece of legislation. With enough valid arguments, a majority within parliament may agree to amend the bill and to reverse its strongest restrictions. The actual vote may be up as soon as this June – after which the second branch of parliament will also need to vote on it (probably somewhere later in 2012)."

Eelco Keij, the main organizer against the proposed law, has more information on his website and a list with contact information of Dutch politicians.

"Girl With a Pearl Earring" to visit the USA


Vermeer's masterpiece "Girl With a Pearl Earring" will be on display in three museums in the United States in 2013, along with 34 other masterpieces from the Dutch Royal Picture Gallery, the Mauritshuis.

The traveling exhibition "Girl With a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings From the Mauritshuis,” will start in January 2013 at the De Young museum in San Francisco and then move to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. In October the show will be scaled down to 10 works and presented as “Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis” at the Frick Collection in New York City.

The Dutch Maurits House museum will undergo a renovation starting April 2013 and is sending 35 paintings on a two-year tour to the United States and Japan. The tour, a $28 million fundraiser for the renovation of the museum, will include paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen and Jacob van Ruisdael.

A repeat visitor to the United States

The highlight of the exhibition is the world-famous "Girl With a Pearl Earring", painted around 1665. The painting became the subject of a best-selling novel in 1999 and in 2003 of a movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.

The painting appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984 as part of a five-year traveling show during the Mauritshuis’s previous restoration. It was last seen in the United States in 1995 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in a 21-picture exhibition focused solely on Vermeer.

Girl With a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings From the Mauritshuis:

- De Young Museum in San Francisco, January 26 to June 2, 2013
- High Museum of Art in Atlanta, June 22 to September 29, 2013
- the Frick Collection in New York City (10 paintings), October 22, 2013 to January 12, 2014.


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