Celebrating 242 years of Dutch-American friendship

Dutch-American Friendship Day is annually celebrated on April 19 to commemorate the start of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Netherlands.


An official Act of the U.S. Congress created Dutch-American Friendship Day in 1982, on the 200th anniversary of the official Dutch recognition of the United States of America.  As then-President Ronald Reagan said when inaugurating Dutch-American Friendship Day, the U.S. relationship with the Netherlands is “the longest unbroken, peaceful relationship that we have had with any other nation.”  Indeed, our relationship, born in the very early days of my country, has grown and blossomed into a beautiful and important friendship.  

I have witnessed the close friendship countless times since arriving in the Netherlands.  I see it as we work together on issues of strategic global importance, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or keeping critical technology secure.  I see it in the many Dutch families who have adopted every single grave at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, honoring the memory of the brave U.S. servicemembers who lost their lives fighting for our shared freedom.  I see it in the many Dutch students who travel to the United States to study, and the Americans studying here in the Netherlands.  I see it in the warmth of the Dutch people I have experienced since I arrived.  And it was a genuine honor to be the first Ambassador to receive the high honor of having a tulip named after me at De Keukenhof on International Women’s Day this year.  

As an immigrant to the United States and the first person of color to be U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Netherlands, I have a different background than some other ambassadors.  My background, filled with challenges and no definition of privilege, leaves me determined to reach out to people who also have faced challenges and feel unseen and unheard.  I have prioritized visiting every Dutch province and have already visited nine provinces so far – three to go!  Through this, I make a point of speaking with people who normally never would have the chance to speak with a U.S. Ambassador.  Our friendship with the Netherlands encompasses all of the people of the Netherlands, no matter their background.  

This year on Dutch American Friendship Day, I celebrate our beautiful friendship born in history, strengthened in war time and flourishing in the present.  I am certain our two countries will remain close friends in this century and beyond.  Happy Dutch-American Friendship Day!

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