The Hague, September 29. 2021
Geachte gasten, goede vrienden: wat fijn om jullie na zo’n lange tijd weer te mogen ontvangen voor een feestelijke receptie. Eindelijk kan het weer!
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Ambassador’s residence for our Independence Day event. Yes, we are well aware of the fact that it is not July 4th. But, this celebration is still about our independence. And for us, a nation who owes our independence in large part to the Netherlands, this is a particularly fitting place to celebrate.
Bear with me as I share a few tidbits of our special history. This is now the residence of the U.S. Ambassador. Our first envoy to the Netherlands – John Adams, who went on to become our second President, established the first U.S. Embassy at his residence, a stone’s throw away from Den Haag Centraal at Fluwelen Burgwal 18. Adams was here to secure a loan in support of our Revolutionary war efforts.
Students from Delft to Detroit may learn about the 5 million guilders loaned to our fledgling colonies, but few realize how big the stakes were for the Netherlands. Our Dutch backers risked not only money, but the wrath of the British Empire itself.
Writing to a colleague in Paris in 1781, John Adams said “Holland has nothing to gain, it has much to lose”. Nevertheless, the Dutch saw the potential in these colonies and lent their support for our independence.
It’s no exaggeration to say that our independence could not have been won without the Dutch.
Many Nederlanders are aware that the Founding Fathers were well-acquainted with “De Plakkaat van Verlatinghe.” But did you also know the Declaration of Independence itself was written on paper pressed in Leiden, deemed the “only paper worthy of such a document”?
The Declaration was also printed in Dutch, to make sure emigres from the Netherlands who lived in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania would read it.
There are countless other stories on this 400-year journey we have taken together. From the Pilgrims to America’s founding fathers, the Dutch played an outsized role in the formation of the United States.
The Netherlands was also the first country to recognize our newly independent United States, saluting our ships off the coast of Saint Eustatius. We are proud to call this our longest unbroken alliance.
From the financial support Adams’ marshalled in Amsterdam to secure our Independence, to the thousands of Dutch families who adopt the graves of the ten thousand U.S. soldiers who perished fighting to restore Dutch Independence during WWII, it’s hard to imagine two countries or two peoples who have been there for one another more than the United States and the Netherlands.
This in and of itself is a cause for celebration.
And after missing last year’s celebration due to COVID, we are ready to have a little fun. We have the Hurricane Brass Band from Maastricht who will be playing a mix of American classics and our classic American cuisine – hot dogs and burgers. Most importantly, we will enjoy the company of our partners and friends. Thank you for joining us for our 245th birthday! Or for the history buffs amongst us, the 195th anniversary of John Adams’ death on July 4th, 1826.
Bedankt dat u hier vandaag bij ons bent om de 245e verjaardag van de Verenigde Staten samen met ons te vieren. Een bijzondere mijlpaal die we niet onopgemerkt voorbij wilden laten gaan, en zo te zien waren we daarin niet de enigen. Hartelijk dank voor uw komst!
Before we toast, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout out to my team. I have the good fortune to work with so many amazing professionals. None of this would be possible without their support and hard work. Thank you team!