As the end of November draws near, most Americans think about turkeys and football. But Thanksgiving is not the only festive day this month. On November 16, the Netherlands and America celebrate Dutch-American Heritage Day to commemorate the longstanding relationship we share. The Netherlands was one of the first countries to recognize the nascent United States as a sovereign state.


Don’t think of this as a grandiose ceremony with heads of state or a lengthy document being signed as a treaty. No, it was a seemingly insignificant event on November 16, 1776, that started the friendship between our two countries.

No one involved at the time could have foreseen that the simple courtesy of two sailors saying “hello” would have such important consequences for the relationship between the Netherlands and the US.

Congress officially designated November 16 as Dutch-American Heritage Day in 1991.