US-Netherlands Relations

US #2003 was issued for the 200th anniversary of this event.

On April 19, 1782, John Adams secured recognition from the Dutch Republic of the United States as an independent government. This marked the start of one of America’s longest unbroken peaceful relationships with another nation.

The link between the Netherlands and America began more than a century earlier. In the late 1500s, the Dutch were among several Europeans to colonize the eastern coast of North America.

US #2003 – Classic First Day Cover.

These early Dutch settlements comprised the territory of New Netherland, which became a colony of the Dutch Republic in 1624. The Dutch also established New Amsterdam, which later became New York City. And today, the flag of New York City is based on that of the Republic of the United Netherlands.

US #2003 – Fleetwood First Day Cover.

On November 16, 1776, the Dutch fort at St. Eustatius fired its guns nine times as a ship flying the US flag sailed into the harbor. This was the first time another country gave America a formal salute, in effect recognizing the nation’s independence.

US #2003 – Silk Cachet Combination First Day Cover.

In July 1780, John Adams was made ambassador to the Dutch Republic. In this role, he traveled to the Netherlands and on April 19, 1782, was received by the States General in The Hague and recognized as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States. This secured Dutch recognition of the United States as an independent government. The Netherlands was the second foreign country to recognize the US, after France, which had done so in 1778.

US #913 from the Overrun Countries series.

While in the Netherlands, Adams purchased a home in The Hague, which became the first American embassy in the world. Also during that trip, he negotiated a loan of five million guilders with two wealthy Dutch businessmen. By 1794, the Dutch would grant the US a total of 11 loans worth 29 million guilders. On September 6, 1782, Adams negotiated the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, the second such treaty with a foreign nation, again after France.

US #913 – Classic First Day Cover.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Adams’ first meeting with the Dutch, President Ronald Reagan declared April 19, 1982, to be Dutch-American Friendship Day, which is still celebrated today.

Click here for stamps from the Netherlands.

Click here to read the text of the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce and here for more about modern US-Netherlands relations.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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  1. Dutch on my Father’s side. The family came here from the Netherlands in the early 17th Century just after the Netherlands started exploring the New World. Love the fact that they were the first European Country to acknowledge our independence since they themselves had not long before won their independence from Spain.

    1. I live near Grand Rapids, MI which has many Dutch people and their descendants and 1609 is generally accepted as their year of independence from Spain.

  2. As a Dutch-American, I enjoyed reading this article. The Dutch republic became the second European nation to recognize the United States as an independent nation, followed by their own bicentennial celebration in 1779. I will certainly share this story with my Dutch relatives and friends at home and abroad!

  3. Too often we don’t know a lot about the what comes in second, no matter how important it may have been. Turns out in this case, the America/ Netherlands connection was of pivotal importance in our early development as a nation. Thanks for bringing to light yet another little known aspect of our history highlighted by a stamp.

  4. To Mr Jim Watkins. 1609 was the year that the Hudson River was “discovered”. The name of the explorer was Henry Hudson, who was working for the: Dutch East India Company.m

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