Politics & News


Passport renewals to stop in many cities


Unfortunately, the Dutch government will stop issuing passports in Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles.

The Dutch Embassy just announced that after October 1, 2015, passport and visa applications can only be submitted at the Dutch Consulates General in Miami, San Francisco and New York, and at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C.

This is bad news for many Dutch citizens in the United States since it means their travel time to renew passports will dramatically increase. As a reminder: it is important for Dutch people living abroad to renew their passports on time. Not having a passport while living abroad can mean that you lose your Dutch citizenship.

We wrote about this in 2013 though later it seemed as if the Consulate in Chicago might be spared.

1614 Dutch fort threatened by proposed oil plant


The remains of the historic Dutch fort near Albany, Fort Nassau, are threatened by a proposed new oil facility. Fort Nassau, which is named after the Dutch royal family, was built in 1614 and was the first Dutch settlement in America.

The proposed oil plant will be built in the general vicinity of the 400 year old fort and there is a great risk that the fort will be destroyed forever. However, there is hope that an archeologically sound compromise can be reached -- provided that the city of Albany steps in.

Applying for a passport or DigiD now possible at Schiphol Airport


Dutch citizens living abroad can now apply for a new passport, identity card or DigiD at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. Minister Plasterk of Internal Affairs recently opened a special service desk.

The service desk will be available 7 days a week from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm local time. Note that an appointment is required for applying for new passport or identity card. No appointment is needed for a DigiD.

A DigiD is an electronic identity card that is used for filing Dutch taxes and applying for Dutch social security (AOW). Earlier, applying for a DigiD was not possible for citizens abroad since a Dutch home address was required. With this new service desk, applying for DigiD becomes possible during a trip to the Netherlands.

To apply for the DigiD at Schiphol a Dutch passport and a working cellphone are required. The security verification requires a phone number that can receive SMS text messages. More information can be found through the DigiD help desk: info@digid.nl or +31 70 383 70 30 (business days until 4.00 pm EST).

Dutch-American community welcomes King Willem-Alexander


Today is the investiture of King Willem-Alexander, the new monarch of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix will abdicate after reigning the Netherlands for 33 years.

Queen Beatrix on Dutch-American relations

Queen Beatrix visited the United States in 1982, and this is what she said during the state dinner with President Reagan on Dutch-American relations:

"Whatever our differences, there is infinitely more that binds our peoples together. We have become partners of our own free will. Above all, let us not underestimate the strength that can emanate from a union that succeeds in safeguarding both external and internal freedom.

In view of this, I'm confident that relations between your country, Mr. President, and my own will be even closer in the future than they have been in the last 200 years."

Celebrations in the USA: "history being written"

This is the last year that Queen's Day will be celebrated, a popular party for Dutch-Americans, and it is celebrated larger than ever. The organizer of the big celebration in New York City, Sander "'t BorrelMenneke" says that the event would easily sell out its 900+ tickets.

In Washington, D.C. the Royal Embassy in collaboration with the DC Dutch is organizing a big event also, with more than 500 guests. According to spokesperson Shanti de Jongh: "The event sold out quickly, and we have a huge waiting list. People clearly feel that this is a very special event and that history is being written. Dutch people feel a strong desire to celebrate this together, in the Embassy".

There are events throughout the United States (many took place last weekend). Our event calendar has a good overview.

King Willem-Alexander

Prince Willem-Alexander and his popular wife, Máxima Zorreguieta, are frequent visitors to the US. The crown-prince participated in the New York marathon in 1992 and the royal couple paid an official visit in 2009 for the Hudson Year celebrations.

Form I-94 will go paperless


The paper version of Form I-94, the arrival and departure record for people on a non-immigrant visa, will be replaced by an automated system. Starting next week filling in the white I-94 Form will no longer be required, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Form I-94 is the official Arrival-Departure Record for people on an non-immigrant visa. For visitors, there used to be a green I-94W form which was replaced in 2010 with the ESTA system; something similar is now happening for people on a non-immigrant visa such as an H-1B, a F-1 or a J-1.

Effective April 26, 2013, non-immigrants traveling to the United States by air or sea will no longer need to fill out a paper Form I-94; CBP will automate Form I-94 using traveler information already transmitted through electronic means and CBP will create an electronic Form I-94 based on the information in its databases.

Paper copy still required in some cases

In response to this announcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that other government agencies will continue to use the paper Form I-94. Notably, USCIS and the State Department of Motor Vehicles will continue to require a paper copy of Form I-94 as evidence of their legal status in the United States. A paper copy of Form I-94 will also still be an acceptable List A document that a work-authorized non-immigrant may present to his/her employer during employment eligibility verification.

Travelers requiring a hard copy of the Form I-94 or other evidence of lawful admission to the United States will be directed to www.cbp.gov/I94 to print a copy of the Form I-94 based on the electronically submitted data. People who go through secondary inspection, such as asylum seekers, refugees, and parolees, will be provided a paper copy of Form I-94 by a CBP officer.

Queen Beatrix announces her abdication


Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands today announced her abdication. In a broadcast that was recorded earlier today, she stated that she will step down as Queen on April 30th this year and her son Willem-Alexander will become King of the Netherlands.

In her short but powerful speech the monarch referred to the fact that she will be 75 soon and that this year the Netherlands will be a monarchy for 200 years. She said: "I am not resigning because my duties are becoming too burdensome but I believe that the responsibility for our country should now be in the hands of a new generation."

The Queen made a specific mention of the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom and said that "she has always felt warmly welcome there".

I am not resigning because my duties are becoming too burdensome but I believe that the responsibility for our country should now be in the hands of a new generation. It is with the greatest confidence that on April 30 I will transfer my powers to my son, the Prince of Orange.

The Queen concluded her speech:

"I feel strengthened by the thought that making place for my successor won't be mean I have to say goodbye to you. I look forward to often still meeting many of you. I am deeply grateful for the trust you have placed in me over the many beautiful years where I've been allowed to be your queen."

King's Day on April 27

The annual celebration that until now was known as Queen's Day will be renamed to King's Day (Koningsdag) and it will be celebrated on April 27th, the birthday of Prince Willem-Alexander.

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 Seattle.com 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.


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