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Holland's Best to close after 68 years in San Jose, CA

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Holland's Best, a Dutch grocery store and bakery in San Jose, California, will be closing its doors for good by the end of the 2014.

In a letter posted on the website owner Klaas Mensonides explains that the lease of the building will not be renewed and that the store has to be empty by mid-January.

For 28 years, I felt more like a steward for the bakery keeping to its tradition. I bake all our cookies and pastries from the old and frayed recipe cards handed down decades ago by the original owner. For this Holiday Season, come stroll down memory lane for a final time at the bakery to enjoy our delicious almond cookies and pastries.

We feel rather nostalgic looking back through the years we have been of service to you. For having made us a part of your experience, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts

The business started in the 1940's as the "Holland Pastry and Gift Shop".

Dutch Consulate in Chicago might close

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The Dutch consulate in Chicago might close. The Dutch government is considering a package of austerity measures that includes closing five consulate world-wide, including the mission in Chicago.

The Michigan House and Senate approved resolutions urging the Kingdom of the Netherlands to reconsider the proposed closing of the Dutch Consulate General Office in Chicago and to retain a strong diplomatic presence in the Midwest region of the United States.

The Netherlands Club of Chicago also disagrees with the proposed closing. They point out that aside from providing consular services to Dutch services, the consulate is also important to maintain strong economic ties:

Closing the Chicago office would close doors politically for Dutch businesses that have settled in the Midwest, along with Dutch businesses that are looking for new opportunities in the region. Consider the economic importance of the Midwest: 25% of America's GNP is generated in the 14 states that it covers. Three of the states in the Midwest (Ohio, Michigan and Illinois) alone are responsible for 27% of all Dutch exports to the US and the region is a rapidly growing area overall. Thus, it is of strategic importance to maintain strong ties between our two countries geopolitically.

The Netherlands Club of Chicago has started a campaign to protest the planned closures. A decision by the Dutch government is expected soon. It is likely that the government will announce their austerity plans on Prinsjesdag, September 17.

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

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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"

New minister: "Proposal doesn't have priority"

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In what seems to be good news for Dutch citizens abroad a spokesperson for minister Spies said that sending the controversial dual-nationality law to the Dutch Parliament "currently does not have priority". Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that minister Spies did not mention when she will submit the proposal for review to the Tweede Kamer, and said that she will determine the time-frame of this "herself" -- apparently distancing herself from her predecessor Minister Donner who had earlier said that he would send the proposal before Christmas.

"A U-turn compared to last year"

Eelco Keij, spokesman and initiator of the protests again the proposal: "This means a U-turn compared to last year, and it seems that because of the public pressure the government is (temporarily) backing off. Needless to say, we remain alert, but for now it comes down to a 'standstill victory'. The exceptions for dual nationality for Dutch people abroad remain unharmed, at least for now."

The minister's remarks come after significant publicity around the effects of the proposed laws on Dutch citizens abroad, including in The Economist and the Huffington Post. The Economist wrote: "By seeking to toughen its nationality laws, the Netherlands is bucking a global trend". The online petition against the proposal currently has more than 20,000 signatures.

No formal decision to delay or postpone the proposal has been made, so it remains to be seen how things will ultimately play out. Says Keij: "we'll keep monitoring".

Minister Spies was named Minister of Interior and Kingdom Relations after Mr. Donner was appointed to be the new Vice President of the Council of State in December 2011. The proposed law has as goal to limit dual citizenship for new Dutch citizens and would impact Dutch citizens abroad as well.

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/

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.

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

General apologizes for comments Dutch army

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The Royal Netherlands Embassy wrote today that General John J. Sheehan has apologized to former Dutch Chief of Defence General Van den Breemen about his remarks on March 18 that related the Srebrenica massacre to gays serving in the Dutch armed forces.

Sheehan, a former NATO commander who retired from the military in 1997, was speaking at a public hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee in opposition to a proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. military. An opinion article in the Los Angeles Times by Borris Dittrich, Dutch born director of Human Rights Watch described the exchange:

Homosexuals in the Dutch military had depleted the forces' morale, he argued to the senators, and made them "ill-equipped to go to war." And that was in part why they failed to prevent Bosnian Serbs from massacring more than 8,000 civilians in the former haven of Srebrenica in July 1995.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) seemed incredulous at the testimony. "Did the Dutch leaders tell you it was because there were gay soldiers there?" he asked.

"Yes," Sheehan said. "They included that as part of the problem." He even claimed that the former Dutch commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force had told him this was true.

Earlier, Dutch prime minister Balkenende denounced the comments as “irresponsible” and said “these remarks should never have been made.” Ambassador Renée Jones-Bos issued a statement: "I heard the statements made by retired US General Sheehan in today's public hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which he suggests a causal relationship between gays serving in the Dutch military forces and the massacre of Srebrenica. I couldn't disagree more.

I take pride in the fact that lesbians and gays have served openly and with distinction in the Dutch military forces for decades, such as in Afghanistan at the moment.

The military mission of Dutch UN soldiers at Srebrenica has been exhaustively studied and evaluated, nationally and internationally. There is nothing in these reports that suggests any relationship between gays serving in the military and the mass murder of Bosnian Muslims."

In today's letter, Sheehan wrote: "I am sorry that my recent public recollection ... 15 years ago inaccurately reflected your thinking on some specific social issues in the military".

Gays have been allowed to serve in the Dutch army since 1974.

Dutch-American Heritage Day 2009

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In 1992 President George Bush Sr. proclaimed November 16 to be Dutch American Heritage Day, a day to celebrate the historic ties and mutual friendship between the Netherlands and the United States. On that day in 1776 the Governor of St. Eustatius ordered a salute to a warship of the United States, making the Netherlands the first foreign power to officially salute the flag of the newly-independent United States.

In 2009 there are many celebrations, big and small, throughout the U.S. and in Holland. We have a complete overview on our site; here are some highlights this year.

The Netherland-America Foundation organizes an elaborate gala in the California Club in Los Angeles, honoring internationally renowned actor, director and painter, Jeroen Krabbé (this event is black tie). The Zwaanendael Museum in Delaware organizes an educational afternoon for young & old: "Discover when and where Delaware’s relationship with the Dutch began, and make an origami windmill or tulip.".

There is a Dutch Day in Winchester, California with live performances and there are "5 Dutch Days" in New York City. One of the events worth looking out for is an Historic Worship Service followed by a "New Netherland Dinner" at the Old First Reformed Church in Brooklyn, NY. The meal that is served is based on 400 year old recipes and includes metworst with cabbage, a boterletter and oliebollen (reservations are required, as is the case for many of these events).

In the Netherlands there is a celebration at the ESA campus/Space Expo in Noordwijk. The U.S. Consulate in Amsterdam has the text of the proclamation by President Bush Sr.

Dutch-American Heritage Day
November 16, 2009 (not all events are on the 16th)
Events, places and organizations

Moon rock in the Netherlands

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The 'moon rock' as it was presented at the Rijksmuseum in 1996.The moon rock that was a prized part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam turned out to be false. A few weeks ago researchers of the Vrije University announced that the moon rock was in fact petrified wood, possibly from Arizona.

The 'moon rock' had been a gift to Prime Minister Willem Drees by the American Ambassador when the three Apollo 11 astronauts visited the Netherlands in 1969.

After Willem Drees passed away in 1988, the moon rock was presented to the Rijksmuseum. According to Novum/AP this may have been where things got a little confused:

"Spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder said that after it received the moon rock in 1992 from the heirs of Mr. Drees the museum verified with NASA if this was indeed a moon rock. Without physical inspection, NASA said it was 'possibly' a moon rock. However, the rock was 89 grams -- much bigger than most other moon rocks that the US government has given to other countries over the years.

The Epoch Times adds: "There is much speculation about the purpose of giving the stone as a gift. Was the stone intentionally given to mislead people, or did Drees misinterpret the gift?

Van Gelder continued, "On the card that was given along with the stone, it did not literally say that it was a moon stone ... But what is odd about it: 'Why would you give such an insignificant stone as a keepsake?' I don’t get that."

In any case, you won't have to go without seeing moon stone in Netherlands this fall. The Boerhaave Museum in Leiden has extended their moon exhibition with 4 weeks, and through September 30 you can visit their display of undisputed moon rock.

Two tiny pieces of moon rock are on display in Leiden; one from Apollo 11 from Mare Tranquillitatis, the other from Apollo 17, the last flight to the moon. Both were gifts by President Nixon to Queen Juliana who donated them to the museum.

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