Even though I live in the Netherlands, I can still recognize President’s Day by acknowledging the American presidents who had ties to the Netherlands.
John Adams and John Quincy Adams
Father and son presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were the first American presidents with ties to the Netherlands. The elder Adams was a diplomat who served as a representative to Congress in Europe and was responsible for obtaining important loans from Amsterdam. He later served as ambassador to the Netherlands and helped secure the recognition of the United States as an independent government at The Hague and negotiated a treaty of amity and commerce with the Dutch. Adams’ residence in Amsterdam was the first American-owned embassy on foreign soil anywhere in the world. Adams oldest son and future president John Quincy spent much of his youth with his father in the Netherlands and was educated at Leiden University and was proficient in Dutch.
Martin van Buren
The eighth president of the United States, Martin van Buren, was the first president who was not of English, Scottish or Irish descent. He also grew up speaking Dutch, making him the only president whose first language was not English.
Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt
Distant cousins Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt ancestors emigrated from Zeeland, the Netherlands in the 17th century. The Roosevelt Study Center in Middleburg is a research institute and library on modern American history that is named after them.
George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush
Aother father and son presidential duo, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, are also believed to have familial roots in the Netherlands.
It was recently noted in the Pilgrim Archives that current president Barack Obama is descended from a Pilgrim family who lived in Leiden for years before going to America.
Monique is a native Californian who has spent the last decade living in Europe and is using it as a launch pad to travel the globe with her family. Visit her blog at www.motravels.com.
Photo credit: The Roosevelt Study Center