Nostalgic trans-Atlantic crossing Rotterdam-New York

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Cruise company Holland America Line will offer two nostalgic trans-Atlantic crossings next summer, re-sailing the classic itinerary from Rotterdam to New York City.

Holland America Line was founded as the Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij and offered its first trans-Atlantic crossing from New York to Rotterdam in 1872. Thousands of Dutch immigrants arrived in the United States with ships like these in the 19th and early 20th century.

Holland America Line last offered a classic trans-Atlantic crossing in 1971. To commemorate this 40 year history, two here-to-there crossings are planned for 2011. Another cruise company, Cunard Line, still offers regular crossings with its ship the Queen Mary 2.

”Proud to honor our heritage”
"Trans-Atlantic cruises were the foundation of Holland America Line for several decades, and there's still a strong desire from today's travelers who want to step back in time and relive the celebrated days of an elegant crossing or follow in the footsteps of their ancestors," Holland America executive vice president Richard Meadows says in a statement. "We're proud to honor our heritage with these two special itineraries."

Stops in Cork and Southampton
Rotterdam’s nine-day trans-Atlantic sailing departs from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on July 3, 2011, and calls at the traditional crossing departure port of Southampton, England, before heading to New York. Dutch Chef Cas Spijkers is scheduled to sail on the July 3 crossing. The July 12 trans-Atlantic departure returns to Rotterdam from New York over nine leisurely days with a call at Cobh (Cork), Ireland, another time-honored stop on crossings of the past.

The line says the voyages will include nostalgia-themed dinner menus and entertainment, special guest lectures, and the presence of a temporary "museum at sea," among other crossing-related features.

Saint Nicholas in the United States, 2010

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December 5th is traditionally the day for Saint Nicholas celebrations and this weekend there were many events organized by the Dutch-American community. Our calendar showed more than 20 public appearances by Saint Nick in the United States.

Of special note was the arrival of St. Nick in the Los Angeles harbor, organized by the Dutch School of Los Angeles. With help of the LA Harbor fire department St. Nick and his helpers arrived by boat to a huge crowd of children.

Below you'll find a selection of photographs of those events this weekend; there are many more on our Facebook page.

Embassy workers involved in fight with police

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Employees of the Royal Dutch Embassy in Washington D.C. were arrested Sunday night in a bar in New York City after allegedly fighting with two police officers. They were released on bail Sunday night and face various misdemeanor charges.

According to the New York Post three Dutch Embassy employees and an American friend allegedly skipped out on a $300 tab at Arthur's Tavern. The two men in the group are charged with physically attacking the waitress who chased them down the street, and then jumping the police offers who showed up to break up the fracas -- leaving one officer with a broken finger and another with a chipped tooth. The embassy employees counter that they tried to pay the bill, but their credit card was rejected and that the waitress threw the first punch.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not confirm the account by the New York Post, and is waiting for the result of a hearing this Friday.

More details in the Wall Street Journal.

New Netherland Research Center now open

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, November 3 officially opened the New Netherland Research Center in Albany, New York. The center will focus attention on New York State's rich collection of historic Dutch Colonial documents and facilitate access to them for future scholars, teachers and students.

Opening up Dutch history

The New Netherland Research Center is the culmination of a decades-long translation effort at the New York State Library, the New Netherland Project. Dr. Charles Gehring is the project's Director and principal translator. "This gives researchers a nice room where everything they need is located in one place," said Gehring in the Albany Times Union. "It gives us a visual presence in the library. I'm excited, even though it took more than 30 years."

"This is fantastic because it opens up so much about Dutch history to share with everyone," said Janny Venema. She is the associate director of the New Netherland Project and a translator and author of books on Dutch Colonial Albany. Gehring and Venema have worked to unlock the wealth of information in these collections by making them available in English. They have written extensively on the scope and legacy of the Dutch heritage of United States.

The New Netherland Research Center will provide access to the colonial Dutch documents held by the New York State Archives and New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections. The center is housed in a large, glass-walled room on the 7th floor of the New York State Library. It is decorated with historic maps, Len Tantillo prints depicting the Dutch Colonial era, books pertaining to the region's Dutch heritage and computer desks. Researchers can also gain access to archival documents in the collections of the State Library and State Archives at the center.

A Royal Visit

During the 2009 Quadricentennial celebration of Henry Hudson's historic voyage opening up the New World to Dutch settlement, Dutch dignitaries, including the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, visited the Cultural Education Center's 1609 exhibition. During that visit the government of the Netherlands committed a grant of $275,000 to the New Netherland Institute. This gift, with matching support from the Institute, will transform what started out as a translation project into a collaborative research initiative with international scope and context. Modern technologies will make New York's collections, along with those in other similar or complementary repositories, available digitally and will promote a more complete story of the Dutch global reach during the colonial period and its lasting impact on today's world.

Seventeenth century collections of government records in the New York State Archives and non-government documents in the Library's Manuscripts and Special Collections constitute the world's largest collection of early Dutch language documentation of the New World colonies. Encompassing what is now a large part of the northeastern United States, the early Dutch colony, its language, culture and laws, lie at the roots of much of our nation's modern history. Scholars regularly explore the collections for insights into 17th century life in New Netherland. Russell Shorto relied heavily on Gehring and Venema and the New York State collections in writing his book The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America.

New Netherland Research Center
New York State Library
Albany, NY
http://www.nnp.org

Promising Land by René Clement

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Photographer René Clement is wrapping up Promising Land, a 5 year photography project about Orange City, Iowa, and its Dutch heritage.

René is an award-winning professional photographer with several books to his name. Originally from the province of Limburg, in the Netherlands, he has lived and worked in New York City since 1998.

A Dutch city in Iowa

René found Orange City by accident. On assignment for a Dutch newspaper in 2004 to photograph tractor square dancing he traveled to Iowa. His American hosts told him about Orange City, 30 miles down the road. On a Sunday afternoon they drove through the city, and noticed the orange water tower, the tulips, and the Dutch building fronts. Orange City promotes a Dutch atmosphere with incentives for building owners. "Even the local Pizza Hut has the look of an Amsterdam building, and on their bathroom doors it says 'Dames' and 'Heren'".

Photo project Promising Land

Over the years, René has been back to Orange City a dozen times, and always found a warm welcome in the community. "We've done some crazy things. One Sunday morning I organized a zombie photo-shoot with the local funeral home; the fire brigade created smoke, and the whole town got involved."

"It is such a difference compared to working in New York City, with its press secretaries, PR agencies, etc. Everyone is so approachable! One day, I wanted to shoot a photograph of a girl in a Dutch costume, carrying an American flag. I didn't have an American flag and so I approached City Hall to see if I could borrow one. They said it was time for them to replace their flag anyway, so right there and then, they let me have the flag that was flying outside".

René speaks highly of the community in Orange City. “What I take away from my Orange City experience is that people went out of their way to help me making my pictures. During all these years there was a mutual enthusiasm and respect, this is what made this project special and I think it shows in the pictures”.

René shoots his photographs on medium format film using a Pentax camera. The project began with a a series of portraits in the tradition of the Dutch master painters, drawing upon their use of soft light and stark, black backgrounds. This was followed by a series of landscapes in which René took his subjects out of the studio environment and put them, still in costume, straight into modern life, smack in the middle of American culture. The result are beautiful and often funny photographs.

The multi-year project is now coming to an end, and René is raising funds for the book's publication through a Kickstarter, an online service. René is hoping to be able to publish the 96-page book in time to present at the 2011 Orange City Tulip Festival.

Promising Land
René Clement
Kickstarter website for Promising Land
Rene Clement.com

Ori Deli - Indonesian cuisine and Dutch shopping in San Jose, CA

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In a corner of a small shopping center in San Jose, not far from highway 101, you'll find "Ori Deli, Dutch and Indonesian groceries". Ori Deli, owned by Robert Tan, is a great place for an Indonesian meal and Dutch shopping.

Nasi rames

The left part of the building is the restaurant. The furniture is in diner style with 30 seats. There are Indonesian posters and decorations on the wall.

The menu consists of classic Indonesian dishes, all home-made. The Nasi Rames comes with steamed rice with beef opor, sambal goreng tahu, spiced potato strings, serundeng, mixed pickled vegetables and sambal, topped with satés and kroepoek (shrimp chips).

The nasi smells delicious, with a small whif of trassi. "We don't use too much", says Tan, "because most Americans don't like it". The sate is excellent and served with a great peanut sauce.

The store and restaurant offer a high level of personal service. The chef/owner takes your order and cooks your meal, using ingredients that he picks up from the store. "We cook the authentic way", says Mr. Tan, who enjoys talking about Indonesian culture and food.

The store has been in existence for over 30 years. Tan says business is slower than it used to be years ago since many of the older generation of Dutch-Indonesians are no longer around. He gets a fair amount of Dutch visitors, who come looking for Dutch items in his store.

The restaurant and the store are connected to each other, so while you wait for your food you can walk around and do some shopping.

Groceries

The groceries section has a large selection of Dutch and Indonesian products. There’s a large selection of drop and Dutch sweets, Honig soups and Delftware. There’s a large selection of Indonesian spices and condiments, and fresh made kroepoek is available for sale.

Ori Deli
5479 Snell Ave
San Jose, California
http://www.orideli.com/

Netherlands Antilles no more

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Tomorrow, October 10, the Federation of the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist.

The islands of Sint Maarten and Curaçao, following the political path of Aruba in 1986, will become constituent states within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius, will become special municipalities of the Netherlands.

Curaçao and St Maarten will become fully self-governing, except in matters of defense, foreign policy, and judicial and financial affairs, which will remain the responsibility of the Dutch government. There will be specific exceptions for the islands, such as the phasing in of the U.S. Dollar as the official currency come January 2011 instead of the euro, and the islands can take a different standpoint on issues like abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.

Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Princess Máxima, are on Curaçao to attend the ceremonies around the transition.

Dutch citizenship law changes in effect on October 1, 2010

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The changes to the Dutch citizenship law that were approved earlier this year will take effect on October 1st, 2010. People born outside the Netherlands before 1985 to a Dutch mother and a non-Dutch father may now be eligible for Dutch citizenship. Citizenship is not granted automatically, these "Latente Nederlanders" need to file an application to gain Dutch nationality.

The Royal Dutch Embassy published information on the procedure and assessment forms. The application can be filed starting October 1st at all Dutch diplomatic missions in the US that handle passport applications or at any city hall in the Netherlands.

Applicants are reminded that citizenship laws are complicated, and that many countries have restrictions on dual citizenship. Seek information from the officials of every country of which you may be a citizen.

Background

While children born to a Dutch father and a foreign mother have always been eligible for Dutch citizenship, people born outside the Netherlands before 1985 to a Dutch mother and a foreign father were not. This strange distinction was a legacy from an old law from 1892, which was revised in 1985. Children born on or after January 1, 1985 to either a Dutch mother or a Dutch father have been eligible for a Dutch passport.

There was a grace-period in the late 1980’s where people in this situation could apply for Dutch citizenship but this did not reach everybody on time.

Overhaul Dutch citizenship laws

The proposal is part of a larger overhaul of the law on Dutch citizenship, including more measures to prevent dual citizenship and additional rules to revoke citizenship of terrorists in certain cases. More information on this and other changes can be found on the website of the Dutch House of Representatives.

New book: Tulip Days

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Tulip Days.Tulip Days is a new novel by Rhiannon van der Munnik about an American woman who moves to the Netherlands to follow her love. Her life experiences and complicated relationships make for an intriguing read, and it's interesting to read how a poet from California experiences life in Harlingen, Friesland.

A Californian woman in Friesland

Mrs. van der Munnik, who herself is from California, explains that while the storyline and relationships in the book are purely fictional, the descriptions of an American living in the Netherlands are autobiographic: "About 8 years ago I lived in the Netherlands for a year, in Harlingen, Friesland. I'm from California, so the weather was quite a bit different. There's also a difference in culture, in mindset; life in the Netherlands is a little bit slower. I used these aspects in my book."

Rhiannon currently lives in the Sacramento area with her Dutch husband. Earlier this year she published her first collection of poetry, titled Hindsight Hymns and her background as a poet is reflected in the language she uses: "We carried on like two ceramic figurines in a snow globe. [....] Nobody else mattered when we locked our apartment door behind us. We simply tried our best to catch the specks of glitter on our tongues, and to avoid the shaking up of our sphere whenever we could.”

Dutch details

The book has many details that are instantly recognizable for Dutch-Americans: the mother who hangs the bed sheets outside to dry, the excellent coffee, and other typical Dutch-American experiences such as when Christiaan, one of the main characters, returns to the Netherlands and meets his mother: "‘Je bent wel aangekomen zeg', she said, with a laugh". Van der Munnik: "yeah, the ‘blunt thing' -- Dutch people can be quite direct in what they say".

The book has been a few years in the making. "I started working on the book in Holland, but I put the project on the back-burner for several years."

Various meals are described in the book, and they often are not very appetizing. When asked, Van der Munnik acknowledges that this part is somewhat autobiographic: "I did not always enjoy the Dutch meals; they were a little bland at times and I didn't want to be the only one at the table adding butter to my rice! But I do like Dutch krokets, pancakes and poffertjes. ".

Her husband's love for paprika chips appears in the book in the Saturday night ritual of sitting on the couch with paprika chips and a movie.

The book's back cover:

Seraphina, a twenty four year old poet from California, has never doubted that she loves her Dutch husband, or that she will spend the rest of her life with him. But when his job brings them to the Netherlands, an introduction to her husband's childhood friend (Jakob, a charming violinist) leads to a series of events which force Seraphina to ask herself if the life she has is truly the one she wants. Spanning nearly a decade, Tulip Days delves into the aftermath of her decision, and paints a carefully constructed portrait of a young woman attempting to bloom amidst the raw and foreign landscape of Holland.

Mrs. van der Munnik provided Dutch in America.com with a copy of her book which is available at Amazon.com. She is now working on her next women's fiction novel.

Tulip Days
Author: Rhiannon van der Munnik
ISBN 978-14-528764-1-2
290 pages, paperback, 9 x 6 inches.
http://tulipdays.rhiannonvandermunnik.com

Dutch products in Kingston, New York

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A report by our correspondent Dawn Elliott.

A recent visit to Adams Fairacre Farms in Kingston, New York was a bit of a Dutch food vacation. This grocery store in upstate New York carries a large number of unusual international items including quite a few Dutch products. Originally a roadside farm stand in the early 20th century, Adams has grown to a three-store chain with other locations in Poughkeepsie and Newburgh.

Chocolate letters and koffie hopjes

Dennis and Dorris in the candy department explained that their ordering is driven by customer requests. The store's Dutch customers created a demand for items such as koffie hopjes and drop. In the past the store has even carried chocolate letters for Sinterklaas.

Products include stroopwafels, kruidenkoek and hagelslag. Items not on the shelves can often be special ordered; typically they would be ordered in the smallest case available. Dorris said she would be happy to help anyone interested.

Paul in the cheese department is clearly passionate about Dutch cheese, but said that with what he is able to order "the selection really is not there." Young Gouda is almost the only type of Dutch cheese their distributor carries. You won’t find specialy cheeses such as brandnetel kaas here, but overall you won’t be disappointed with the choices of local and international cheeses.

Dutch since the 17th century

When asked why the store carried so many Dutch products, manager Mike Paesano smiled: "This has been a Dutch area since the 17th century," a fact often pointed out by Kingstonians. Formerly Wiltwijck, the town of Kingston still has remnants of its Dutch past apparent today in its old houses, local family names, and museums.

Adams Fairacre Farms
Stores in Poughkeepsie, Kingston and Newburgh, New York.
(845) 454-4330
www.adamsfarms.com

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