Politics & News


Dutch Dialogues in New Orleans


New Orleans.The New Orleans newspaper Times-Picayune writes today about the Dutch Dialogues, conversations about water management in New Orleans.

The Dutch Dialogues workshops are interactions between Dutch experts and their Louisiana counterparts that started in March 2008; this is the third workshop in the series. David Waggonner, a local New Orleans architect, initiated the dialogues with the support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC and the American Planning Association.

When Dutch planners and designers came to New Orleans for the first time their initial reaction was “Where is the water and why is it hidden?”. The philosophy of the dialogues;

South Louisiana, like the Netherlands, must adapt to the threats inherent to living in a subsiding delta. This is not an either/or proposition -- it is an ordering principle. Safety First” is the key organizing water management principle in the Netherlands. History repeatedly shows the folly of living in a delta: disasters are common there. To ignore, however, the water’s magic – the unique, abundant opportunities that can and should be exploited for economic, societal and cultural gain —is equally foolhardy

“Living with the water” has recently become an ordering, corollary principle of Dutch policy. Dutch Dialogues participants believe that adapting a Living with the Water principle is necessary in post-Katrina New Orleans; they likewise reject the false choice posited by those who see only a choice between safety or amenity from water in the Louisiana delta. Indeed, Dutch Dialogues posits that both safety and amenity from water are crucial to a future in which New Orleans is robust, vibrant and secure.

This Sunday there will be a public presentation by the project in New Orleans. More information is available at http://dutchdialogues.com. (Source: Royal Netherlands Embassy).

Registration form Dutch elections now available


Voting registration form.The registration form for Dutch citizens abroad who want to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Netherlands is now available.

The completed voter registration form should be sent to the municipality of The Hague, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C. or one of the Dutch Consulates General (New York, Chicago, Miami or San Francisco). A proof of Dutch citizenship needs be included. All materials need to be received by April 27th.

The actual voting can be done via mail, by proxy, or, if you happen to be visiting the Netherlands, in person. There won't be any voting via internet. Note that the voting documents may not be sent until May 21st and votes need to be received in the Netherlands on June 9. Since 19 days for a round-trip via mail is rather short, voting by proxy may be the safest approach to get your vote counted.

The Royal Netherlands Embassy has the most recent information. More details on the procedure can be found here (in Dutch), by phone at +31 70 353 4488 or via e-mail at verkiezingen@dbz.denhaag.nl.

Elections for Dutch parliament (Tweede Kamer) will be held on June 9. The previous cabinet fell when the Labor Party (PvdA) quit the government because it could not agree with the Christian Democrats (CDA) to extend the service of 2,000 Dutch troops in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province.

Co-Founder of Dutch Bros. Coffee Chain Dies


Dane Boersma.A co-founder of Dutch Bros., a coffee chain at the West Coast, has died from Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The Associated Press: "Travis Boersma said his brother, 55-year-old Dane Boersma, died Thursday morning at his home in Grants Pass.

The Boersmas started Dutch Bros. pushing a coffee cart up and down the streets of Grants Pass. They started franchising the company in 2000. It has since grown to more than 150 coffee stands in seven states, with more than $50 million in sales last year."

Dane Boersma was born in Lynnwood, California and he is a third generation Dutch American. When he was diagnosed with ALS he started Dane's Drive to raise funds for research to find a cure for ALS. Mr. Boersma is survived by his wife, Sandy, a daughter and two sons.

Rensselaerswijck Seminar 2009


Last weekend was the 2009 Rensselaerswijck Seminar in Albany, NY. This year the annual Seminar had a two-day program with an opening on Thursday evening with Russell Shorto and speakers on Friday and Saturday.

The seminar took place in New York State Museum's Carole Huxley Theatre. Your correspondent had the opportunity to attend the Saturday session with a diverse group of attendees ranging from professional historians to interested people from all walks of life. According to Charles Wendell PhD, President and Chairman of the New Netherland Institute, the complete registration for the two days of the seminar was 180, one of the best numbers in the history of the event.

The program started at 9.00 A.M. and the friendly atmosphere was set with a birthday recognition of Jippe Hiemstra, chairman of the Institute’s 2009 Committee. In the introductory words Dr. Wendell led a rousing cheer for the Van Voorhees family who organized their 5-yearly event to coincide with the Seminar, followed by recognition of the many attending societies and organizations.

No 'Holland on the Hudson'

The first speaker was Jan Folkerts MA, general manager of the municipality of Littenseradiel in Friesland and a New Netherland researcher.

Until the 1980 most researchers considered the Netherlands to be homogeneous, but in reality there are significant differences culturally, politically and economically between the various regions in the Netherlands. When thinking about the Dutch Republic in the 17th century the province of Holland is often considered to be representative of the whole Republic, since that is where the power center of the country was. However, colonists and farmers mainly came from other provinces as Mr. Folkers convincingly showed using various charts and graphs.

"Whatever New Netherland might have been, it was certainly not 'Holland on the Hudson'".

Charles Gehrling: "We're still finding stuff!"

Charles Gehring, PhD, director of the New Netherlands Project, spoke next. He talked about the origin of the sources that the NNP is translating, and some of the events that impact caused documents to disappear such as a 1674 reorganization of the WIC and a fire in 1911.

About the documents: "Some of them are still out there -- those that weren't boiled up and made into new paper. We're still finding stuff!"

Dr. Gehrling's talk was informative and very entertaining. Mr. van Slichterhorst, the main subject of the talk, had a hard time dealing with the Indians according to a related lawsuit filed in the Netherlands. Negotiating with the Indians was expensive to him personally: large amounts of gifts, food and drinks were provided. "So, this would be an early example of a protection racket". Dr. Gehrling mentioned an interesting project by the Universiteit van Leiden, http://www.brievenalsbuit.nl.

Henry Hoff, the editor of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, spoke about researching family history in New York and New Jersey. His hand-out contains many useful links to genealogy research.

After the break Dr. Starna introduced Dr. James W. Bradley as the recipient of the annual Hendricks Award for his book Before Albany.

Len Tantillo

Len Tantillo showed many of his beautiful works and spoke about the research that went into creating these paintings. He described how archeology and the translated documents work together, for example to show that people in Fort Orange lived a wealthy live, not all that differently from their peers in patria, the Dutch Republic.

To paint canoes Mr. Tantillo did research in Canada on how to make canoes (using elm) and he worked with the Scheepsvaartmuseum in Amsterdam to learn what a Dutch bark looked like.

Martha D. Shattuck PhD, editor for the New Netherland Project, wrapped up the presentations with a talk about Rensselaerswijck.

New Netherland dinner

The evening reception and dinner was in the Hampton Inn and Suites and Indonesian food was provided by Yono's. Appetizers included krupuk with peanut sauce and Indonesian meatballs -- a nice touch for a partially Dutch crowd, since Indonesian food is not common in the United States.

A special Half Moon daalder coin was presented to everyone at the dinner; a great present by Dr. Andrew Hendricks, Chairman of the New Netherland Museum.

William (Chip) Reynolds, Director of New Netherland Museum, spoke about the work done with the Half Moon ship that he is captain of. Technical problems with the projector did not stop him from conveying what kind of preparation and guts it took Henry Hudson to cross the ocean and explore the Hudson river. Dr. C. Carl Pegels, Professor Emeritus, SUNY at Buffalo, NY. received the Alice P. Kenney Memorial Award for his excellent online collection of Dutch-Americans.

After the main event smaller groups stayed until late in the night. In the words of the Dr. Wendell: "We consider the entire event to have been a great success" -- we agree.

400 years Dutch-American ties recognized by Congress


Halve Maen.Senate resolution S.Res.254 we wrote about earlier was officially approved yesterday.

The Hill has an article about the Dutch American relations, specifically around Afghanistan:

"President Barack Obama is weighing a difficult decision to send more American troops to Afghanistan at a time when the Netherlands is preparing to pull its own soldiers from the war-torn country next year. "

The passage of the resolution by the Senate and the corresponding House Resolution (H.Con.Res.178) caps off the 8 month celebration of NY400 events in New York and the Netherlands to mark the shared history and shared values between the United States and the Netherlands.

IRS Extends Deadline to Declare Foreign Accounts


IRS.govThe Internal Revenue Service today announced a one-time extension of the deadline for special voluntary disclosures by taxpayers with unreported income from hidden offshore (foreign) accounts. These taxpayers now have until Oct. 15, 2009.

This is important for those with bank accounts in the Netherlands or elsewhere. US law states that all US persons (citizens, green card holders, visa holders) must pay tax on their worldwide income. In addition to reporting the interest income earned to the IRS, tax payers are required to file form TD F 90-22.1 if the total balance of foreign accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the year. In many cases there is tax credit for tax paid on earned interest in a foreign country.

According to the WSJ today: 'most of those accepted into the IRS's disclosure program will owe back taxes, interest and a special penalty that will work out to 40% to 60% of the account balance, plus legal and accounting fees, attorneys say. But the agency has said it is unlikely to bring criminal charges against anyone who steps forward'.

Dutch royals visit New York for Hudson 400


Royal Dutch visit New YorkToday Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima watched a parade of boats in the New York harbor. In the afternoon they visited New Amsterdam Village, an imitation Dutch village that was temporarily set up at Bowling Green Park for a week.

The Dutch royal couple visited New York for NY 400 week, which commemorates the journey to what is now New York 400 years ago by Captain Henry Hudson. Earlier this week they opened a (permanent) Dutch pavilion in Manhattan and visited President Obama in the White House.

The New York website Gothamist has nice pictures of the Dutch pavilion, earlier this week.

Congress on 400 years Dutch-American ties


Halve Maen.Resolution S.Res.254 was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week to commemorate and celebrate the historic ties of the United States and the Netherlands.

A resolution like this is of symbolic value. The bill refers to the long history of the ties between the two countries, but also touches on recent examples such as the help provided by the Netherlands after Hurricane Katrina, and the fact that Holland is among the top 4 foreign investors in the United States. (Read the whole text here).

The corresponding House Resolution (H.Con.Res.178) was introduced by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen this summer. Mr. Van Hollen is of Dutch descent and he is one of the members of the Congressional Caucus on the Netherlands.

The Senate Resolution was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations; they will decide on the resolution before is it officially passed.


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