Book review: Tecumseh TenSee


Tecumseh TenSee.In October 2009 the American author F'Allen Griffin and Dutch illustrator Karen Kommer published a book with a Dutch-American theme. The book is published by the Stichting Kinderboekenmarkt, the Dutch Children's Book Fair Foundation, to accompany the 2009 annual kinderboekenmarkt in The Hague. We acquired a copy.

A bilingual children's book

The book is Tecumseh TenSee is bilingual: each chapter is printed in Dutch followed by the English version. We asked Ilana, a 10-year old American girl to read the English chapters and assist with this review, an assignment she enjoyed. On a scale from 1 to 10 she would rate it a 9.

Tecumseh TenSee is the name of the main character, an American boy with Native American and Dutch ancestors. "Tecumseh turns 11 years old and goes to Grand Father Oak who tells him he'll have a vision". The American boy experiences a coming of age vision, and in his vision he meets his Native American ancestors, as well as his Dutch grandfather in the Netherlands.

"A very brave main character"

"It was an exciting book; the main character is very brave because he traveled a long way with nobody watching him."

The illustrations in the book were by Karen Kommer. "The pictures in the book had everything the story was about; a little confusing, but you get it". The book contains many biographical elements, including the references to Serpent Mound in Ohio.

Cover text

The cover text: "An American boy of partly Indian descent, sets off on the night before his eleventh birthday, on a search through the Ohio Valley for the vision of his famous Shawnee ancestors Tecumseh and Tenskatawa.

In the magical vision quest through time TenSee, as he calls himself, transforms into a young Griffin Buzzard and flies over the Atlantic Ocean to the Nether Lands. He meets Janneke the Dragon Fly and they find their philosophy of life: Peace is the heartbeat of nature. Tecumseh TenSee is meant to inspire avid 10+ readers and seekers."

Where to buy

The book is for sale at the Stichting Kinderboekenmarkt, Stationsweg 93 (de Gebarenwinkel), 2515 BK Den Haag. The price is €7.35; shipping in the Netherlands is available for €1.25. Contact the publisher for purchasing information for the US.

Tecumseh TenSee
Author: F'Allen Griffin, illustrations: Karen Kommer
ISBN 978 90 453 1043 5

Danku closed


Danku closed.Several weeks ago we mentioned on our Facebook page that Danku, a Dutch restaurant in New York, had temporary closed.

However, it became clear that Danku would not reopen. The telephone and their website stopped working and Midtown lunch wrote that eviction notices were posted on the store's windows. An article today on (in Dutch) talks about the eviction lawsuit and mentions that the second store of Danku in Antwerp, Belgium has also closed.

It's sad to see a Dutch store or restaurant close but don't forget that we have nearly 50 Dutch restaurants, stores and bakeries in the United States in our directory.

Netherlands Consulate in Atlanta accepting visa applications again


The Netherlands Consulate in Atlanta, which serves as a link between the Netherlands and Georgia and South Carolina, is accepting visa applications again.

The office wasn't accepting visa applications since June last year; starting Monday January 25th applications will be taken again.

For further information contact the consulate at (770) 390-3550 or at

The Dutch Epicure Shop Bakery: cheese, baked goods and friendly smiles


Outside.Last week we visited The Dutch Epicure Shop Bakery in Connecticut, one of nearly 50 Dutch restaurants, bakeries and stores in the United States that we know of.

The Dutch Epicure Shop Bakery is a Dutch bakery and grocery store in Litchfield, Connecticut. It's located on a small strip mall on highway 202, about 45 minutes east of Hartford, the state's capital.

The store was founded by a Dutch baker in 1967 and a few years later purchased by Wolfgang and Betsy Joas. Mr. Joas, an German-born pastry chef and Mrs. Joas, a Dutch national from Diemen, the Netherlands, met on a ship of the Holland-American Line and started a Dutch-German-American family and store. Eight years ago their daughter Wilma, who is trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America, took over the business and continued the tradition of friendly service and high quality products. Her mother Betsy still assists in the store and the ordering.

A friendly Dutch bakery

Over the years the family built up a successful bakery and grocery store with a loyal following, in Litchfield and far around it. "There's only one other Dutch family in Litchfield", Mrs. Joas explains, "but we receive Dutch customers from all over the Tri-State Region, coming as far away as Boston and New Jersey". About 20% of the customers is Dutch -- the store is also the bakery for the local community.

Cheese counter.Popular items from the bakery are the bitterkoekjes and Amsterdams krentenbrood (baked on Fridays and Saturdays). They sell out quickly -- "the people know about it and show up early!"

During the holidays Wilma bakes banketstaven and other traditional goods. Dutch cookies year-round include speculaas, hoefjes and bokkenpootjes. We can vouch for the Almond bitterkoekjes (of which we received a free sample) and the quality of the Dutch-style bread.

Customers are received with happy smiles and service in either English, German or Dutch.

Dutch groceries

Wilma and Betsy repeatedly warned your correspondent that "the store is empty because of our upcoming vacation", but the shelves were still overflowing. The store closes each year for a few weeks in February to allow a vacation break. Wilma was born in the United States but learned Dutch from her mother and speaks Dutch fluently -- something her mother is proud of.

Cheese counter.The biggest selling item are the Dutch cheeses in many varieties and are available for a sample -- "Ik zal hem even laten proeven because hij is zo lekker". The store carries a large supply of Indonesian spices and condiments, including the Dutch Conimex brand. The store has about 30 varieties of drop, Dutch licorice.

The store combines German and Dutch influences, a nougat and strudel are joined with beschuit and Delft Blauw on the shelves. Mrs. Joas mother frequently visits the Netherlands to stay up-to-date on trends and new styles in food. Frozen herring is supplied by Vishandel de Otter from Den Haag ( and the store carries gele vla and chocolade vla.

The Dutch Epicure Shop Bakery
491 Bantam Rd.
Litchfield, CT, 6759
View on map

Dutch citizenship law being updated


People born before 1985 to a Dutch mother and a non-Dutch father may become eligible for Dutch citizenship. The Dutch House of Representatives, de Tweede Kamer, approved a motion today and Justice Minister Ballin will take the measure into consideration.

While children born to a Dutch father and foreign mother have always been eligible for Dutch citizenship, people born before 1985 to a Dutch mother and a foreign father are not. This strange distinction was a legacy from an old law from 1892, which was revised in 1985. Since January 1, 1985 children born 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. The ministry of Foreign Affairs describes the existing regulations for people in this situation (in Dutch).

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 proposed change and others on the website of the Dutch House of Representatives.

Exhibition "Ships, Explorers and the World Trade Center"


Anchor.On February 2, 2010, the India House Foundation will open Ships, Explorers and the World Trade Center, a new exhibition featuring discoveries, artifacts, and multimedia that illustrate the maritime history of downtown New York.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • The charred remains of a ship's bow excavated in 1916, long thought to be the ship's keel of Dutch explorer Adriaen Block's ship Tijger, which burned off Manhattan in 1613, and a bronze cannon marked "VOC," property of the Dutch East India Company
  • An ancient, 11-foot iron anchor hoisted from the construction site of the World Trade Center in 1967, where it had been buried for more than 300 years (Courtesy National Maritime Historical Society)
  • Documentary film footage from 1916 of the discovery of the Ship Tijger keel and a section of Manhattan Company Water Pipe (1800) found during excavation for the IRT subway tunnel at the future World Trade Center site (Courtesy Brooklyn College Archives)
  • A model and film of the USS NEW YORK, the Navy's newly commissioned (7 November 2009) Landing Platform, Dock Warship, made with 7.5 tons of World Trade Center Steel forged into its bow (Courtesy USS NEW YORK Commissioning Committee)
  • At the entrance to The India House: a steel artifact recovered from the World Trade Center. This will be a permanent reminder of the World Trade Center, the innocent victims, and the bravery of those who responded on September 11, 2001

"The India House is the perfect setting for this historic exhibition," commented Margaret Stocker, IHF Trustee and curator of the exhibition. "The land at One Hanover Square was owned in 1673 by Peter Stuyvesant's nephew and New Amsterdam's secretary, Nicholas Bayard, and the current building dates to after the Great Fire of 1835."

The India House Foundation was established in 1999 to document and preserve maritime history and help revitalize Lower Manhattan, New York City.

Ships, Explorers and the World Trade Center, India House, One Hanover Square, New York City
February 2-28, 2010

Opening Geert Snoeijer's exhibition Holland Society in Amsterdam


Geert Snoeijer's photo exhibition in Amsterdam City Hall.From our correspondent in the Netherlands, Jaap Bosman.

On December 14, 2009 an exhibition of portraits by Geert Snoeijer of members of the Holland Society of New York was opened for the public. The photos are on display in a corridor in the town hall of Amsterdam, next to the opera hall (Muziektheater). The opening was attended by about 200 people, including several members of the Holland Society who were in Amsterdam to see the display with their portraits. We met Bromme H. Cole, Stephen Van Ness, Walton Van Winkle III, dr. Andrew A. Hendricks, James R. Van Wagner and Peter G. Ten Eyck II.

The Holland Society in New York was founded in 1885 to collect information about the settlement and history of New Netherland. Members of the Holland Society of New York are males who are a descendant of an ancestor who lived in Nieuw Nederland before or during 1675. A Genealogy Committee will study ones application for membership.

Mr. Snoeijer took the pictures of the members of the Holland society in the style of 17th century Dutch Masters to create a connection between the descendants on the photo and their 17th century ancestors. Each photo shows objects that tell part of the subject's story. Robert Quackenbush, an author and illustrator of children's books, is pictured with painting equipment, brush and palette. The photo of James R. Van Wagner shows a picture of a soldier, a reminder of the military history of his forefathers. In portraits of the old Dutch masters one always sees such objects.

Mr. Krans, a friend of Geert Snoeijer, announced Carolien Gehrels, Alderman for Arts and Culture of Amsterdam. She likened the photos of the members of the Holland Society Of New York to paintings of the Dutch masters such as Frans Hals and Rembrand. Martine Gosselink, Head History Department of Rijksmuseum, spoke about the first inhabitants of Nieuw Amsterdam, for instance Catalina Trico and her friend Joris Rapalje. After the lecture of Martine Gosselink the exhibition was officially opened by Julie A. Ruterbories, Consul General of the United States.

Curator Martine Gosselink was very much involved in American-Dutch history and visited New York. She is a friend of Mr. Snoeijer and she told him about the Holland Society, about these men being very proud of their Dutch roots. Mr. Snoeijer: "I wanted to make the portraits of these men". Mr. Snoeijer visited the Holland Society and photographed society members. He had this question in mind: "Can you still see their heritage in their facial features? Donald Westerveld for example, traces his heritage to the village of Westerveld in Drenthe, and you can still see that in his features. In his face I also see the features of a Native American. "

"Pictures as images of the soul"
The exhibition shows 23 portraits. Mr. Snoeijer tries to make his images reflect the soul of its subjects: "That's the best part of this work; pictures as images of the soul. I use a a ZONE VI view camera, a technical camera, and when taking an image I have a dark cloth over my head, like a photographer from the good old days".

"I would have preferred to photograph them at their homes but this was impractical since the members live throughout the United States, so we met in New York. I've been to New York five times now, every time scheduling a day for portrait sessions, 1.5 hours per session."

When Mr. Snoeijer met Robert Quackenbush for a photo session they became friends. "Robert and I both see the world in pictures, he being a painter, I being a photographer". Mr. Snoeijer asked if Mr. Quackenbush would mind posing before an oil painting of Mr. Quackenbush's illustrious ancestor Wyn Quackenbush Mabie. "No way!" said Mr. Quackenbush jovially. "She had her turn. Now it's my turn! I'll let you take a portrait of me with your camera if you let me paint an oil portrait of you at the same time!" It was agreed, and Mr. Snoeijer's portrait is now visible in the photograph of Mr. Quackenbush.

A selection of the portraits can be seen on Geert Snoeijer's website.

Geert Snoeijer
Mr. Snoeijer was born 1968 in IJsselmuiden, the Netherlands. Following a brief career as a lawyer in Brussels and Amsterdam, he became an assistant to creative photographer Emilio Brizzi and a year later he joined the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool. Nowadays his work, which focuses on portraits and stories, is published in numerous national and international media.
Mr. Snoeijer has a very positive impression of New York and the people of the city, this was his first visit to New York and the USA. "The idea of the photographs was well received and people were full of energy when making the picture. It's like anything is possible in New York, there is so much enthusiasm for new things! People were very cooperative and getting things prepared for the picture sessions went smoothly".

This is Mr. Snoeijer's first great exhibition with an opening party and he is very pleased with the number of people that attended. He would like to continue the portrait series, and is considering publishing a book. There are no definite plans yet to display the exhibition in the United States.

The Holland Society of New York, exhibition by Geert Snoeijer.
December 14, 2009 through January 10, 2010 in Amsterdam City Hall/Stopera
January 12, 2010 through February 19, 2010 in World Trade Center Amsterdam

Dutch Consulate in California moving to San Francisco


The Consulate General of the Netherlands in California will open its new office in the One Montgomery Tower in San Francisco tomorrow, January 4.

The Consulate's old office in Los Angeles will remain open at the current location on Wilshire Blvd., servicing passport and visa applications and War Victims Department (WUV) clients.

From the press release:

With the move to San Francisco, the Consulate will further enhance its presence in the Western United States, leveraging strong local networks in water management, climate change, biotech, nanotech, new media/gaming, and IT. The new location will also benefit the Consulate by virtue of its close proximity to Sacramento.

The new office in San Francisco will be the base of activities for the Dutch government in the Western United States. The Consulate’s Consular, Economic, and Press & Culture departments, which will move from Los Angeles, will be joined in San Francisco by representatives from the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO), the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), and the Netherlands Office for Science & Technology (NOST), who are moving to San Francisco from San Mateo.

"With the move, we bring together a strong team," says Consul General Bart van Bolhuis. "United in San Francisco, we strengthen our presence not only locally, but also beyond the Bay Area. In fact, we will remain active in Los Angeles with our cultural and economic activities. It is helpful, therefore, that we will keep our office on Wilshire Blvd."

Since December 16, 2009 the Honorary Consulate in San Mateo is closed. More information on the move and contact information on the website of the Consulate.

Before New York There Was New Netherland


The panel. The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York participated in the 5 Dutch Days by presenting its annual Stephen Kaye Memorial Program entitled: Before New York There Was New Netherland, Our Dutch Heritage 1609-2009. The event was held on November 13th at the New York City Bar and featured a round table discussion with writers and scholars Russell Shorto, Dr. Charles Gehring and Jean Zimmerman.

"What's the fuzz about the Dutch?"

The evening started with a reception in a stately hall at the New York Bar, in the heart of Manhattan on West 44th Street. There were bitterballen, Dutch snacks, and Dutch beer. According to the organization, close to 400 people were in attendance, many participating because of the 5 Dutch Days, and many more from the legal and educational community who are members of the host Society.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Fanfare, presented by The Society of Daughters of Holland Dames, alerted everyone to the beginning of the program and played the national anthem. The official program began with a welcome by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. The evening was sponsored by the firm of Proskauer Rose LLP in combination with the Holland Society of New York.

Hon. Albert Rosenblatt provided an introduction to the evening's program, and gave a geopolitical background of the Dutch colony in the 1600's. "Henry Hudson sailed onto the river now carrying his name and like many others, decades later, got stuck in Albany".

There was a reading by Henry Miller of the 1657 Flushing Remonstrance, a plea for religious freedom. This document, which is now in the collection of the New York State Archives makes the case that liberty extends to all. Mr. Miller's rendition in his rich baritone voice was quite impressive.

Round table discussion

The main program of the evening was a round table discussion with Dr. Charles Gehring, Russel Shorto and Jean Zimmerman on the importance of New York's Dutch heritage in shaping its democratic process. Russell Shorto is the author of The Island at the Center of the World, the best-selling book whose title gives rise to the South Street Seaport Museum exhibit’s name; Dr. Charles Gehring, noted director of the New Netherland Project at the New York State Library, where the archives of the Dutch colony centered on Manhattan are being translated and Jean Zimmerman, author of The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty.

The discussion was moderated by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt. Chief Judge Kaye posed the main question: "Tonight we even had fanfare. What's the fuzz about the Dutch?"

The audience.Russell Shorto: "The influence of the early colonists on American society was profound. In New Netherland, tolerance was a glue to keep society together. Combined with capitalism and lots of minorities this set the tone for the future culture of the US". Dr. Charles Gehring added: "Only 50% of the immigrants in New Netherlands were ethnic Dutch. It was a true multi ethnic society -- this is unique to New Netherlands. The English and French were groups with a single ethnicity. New Netherland included immigrations from Croatia to Lithania to Scandinavia."

Jean Zimmerman spoke on the role of women in the colonies. She writes of Margaret Hardenbroeck who, in a man’s world, rose to become a tycoon in New Netherland. Mrs. Zimmerman points out that Dutch law offered women “a measure of invincibility.” She notes that Holland’s legal system, transported to these shores and lost after the British takeover in 1664, “was fairer to women than any other in Europe. The Dutch were very open to have women in different positions in society. Dutch men saw women as successful and dominant and accepted that."

It was an interesting discussion, brought with humor at times. Dr. Gehring: "Buying Manhattan from the Indians for a pittance? It's a romantic story. The numbers that circulate have not even adjusted for inflation". Chief Judge Kaye quickly added: "like judges' salaries!".

Marilyn Marcus, Executive Director of the Society, declared the program a great success, and noted that the Society was deeply honored to participate in this remarkable quadricentennial celebration of Dutch-American heritage.

A publication written by Frances Murray, the Chief Legal Reference Attorney of the NY State Court of Appeals accompanied the event. "A Legal History of New Netherlands" is available on-line.

Sinterklaas at the Van Wickle House


On Sunday December 6th Saint Nicholas made his entrance at the Van Wickle House in Somerset, New Jersey. The historic house is maintained by the Meadows Foundations which has organized a Sinterklaas event at the house for decades.

Inside the Van Wickle House Dutch provincial flags and Dutch artwork were on display and traditional food including almond pastry and speculaas from the Holland-America Bakery was on sale. Outside, a beautiful Dutch street organ, the Violanta, played Sinterklaas songs. Johanna Vander Heyden is the driving force behind the Violanta street organ and created the Zwarte Piet costumes.

Before Sinterklaas arrived there was Dutch dancing, klompen dansen, with dancers in beautiful traditional Dutch costumes.

Sinterklaas arrived on a white horse and was accompanied by his helpers, Zwarte Pieten. Dr. Bruce Hamilton, the Chair of the Van Wickle House, welcomed Sinterklaas who sat down outside the House. Children offered drawings to Saint Nick and received sweets in return.

We wrote about the Van Wickle house a few months ago.


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