Netherlands–United States relations

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Netherlands – United States relations
Map indicating locations of Netherlands and USA


United States
Diplomatic Mission
Dutch Embassy, Washington, D.C. United States Embassy, The Hague
Ambassador Henne Schuwer Ambassador Tim Broas
Former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and former United States Ambassador Roland Arnall

Bilateral relations between the Netherlands and the United States are described as "excellent" by the US Department of State[1] and "close" by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[2] Official relations were established in 1782 and, as the two were never at war or in serious conflict, were referred to by US President Ronald Reagan in 1982 as "the longest unbroken, peaceful relationship that we have had with any other nation."[3] The two countries have cooperated much in recent decades in anti-terrorism, anti-piracy and peacekeeping missions in the European, Middle Eastern and Central American regions (largely through NATO). They are also the third largest (Netherlands to US) and largest (US to Netherlands) direct foreign investors in each other's economies.


The U.S. partnership with the Netherlands is one of its oldest continuous relationships and dates back to the American Revolution. Starting in the late 16th century, the Dutch and other Europeans began to colonize the eastern coast of North America. The Dutch named their territory New Netherland, which became a colony of the Dutch Republic in 1624. The Dutch colonial settlement of New Amsterdam later became New York City. The present-day flag of New York City is based on the flag of Republic of the United Netherlands.[4]

Though the action was disavowed by the government of the Netherlands, on November 16, 1776, the fort at St. Eustatius gave the first formal salute (firing its guns nine times) to a ship flying the American flag.[5] On 19 April, 1782, John Adams was received by the States General in The Hague and recognized as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America. By doing so, it became the second foreign country to recognize the United States[6] (after France on February 6, 1778).[7] The house that Adams purchased in The Hague became the first American embassy in the world.[8]

In 1861-63 the Lincoln administration looked abroad for places to relocate freed slaves who wanted to leave the United States. It opened U.S. negotiations with the Dutch government regarding African American migration and colonization of the Dutch colony of Suriname in South America. Nothing came of the idea, and after 1864 the idea was dropped.[9]

Contemporary relations[edit]

The countries were described by President George W. Bush as "brother nations" and by President Barack Obama as "closest friends which friendship will never die". Obama has also said that, "Without the Netherlands there wouldn't be a United States of America as everyone knows it now".[citation needed]

The bilateral relations between the two nations are based on historical and cultural ties as well as a common dedication to individual freedom and human rights. The Netherlands shares with the United States a liberal economic outlook and is committed to free trade. The Netherlands is the third-largest direct foreign investor in the United States,[10] and the Dutch-American trade and investment relationship is supporting close to 625,000 American jobs[11] with Texas, California and Pennsylvania benefiting most from these economic ties.[12] The United States is the third-largest direct foreign investor in the Netherlands.

The United States and the Netherlands often have similar positions on issues and work together both bilaterally and multilaterally in such institutions as the United Nations and NATO. The Dutch have worked with the United States at the World Trade Organization, in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as well as within the European Union to advance the shared US goal of a more open and market-led world economy.

The United States participated greatly in the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi Germany during World War II. Both nations joined NATO as charter members in 1949. The Dutch were allies with the United States in the Korean War and the first Gulf War and have been active in global peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Netherlands also support and participate in NATO and EU training efforts in Iraq. Until August 1, 2010 they were active participants in the International Security Assistance Force and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

As of 2016, The Netherlands is part of the US-led coalition against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.[13]

Diplomatic missions[edit]

US Consulate General in Amsterdam

Dutch missions[edit]

Since 2011, the Dutch Ambassador to the United States is Henne Schuwer. The Dutch missions in the United States number an embassy and five consular offices:

The American embassy in The Hague

American missions[edit]

From 2014 until 2016, the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands was Tim Broas. The United States missions in the Netherlands, has an embassy and a consulate general:

The U.S. Consulate General in Willemstad operates as its own mission, with the Consul General as the "Chief of Mission". As such, the Consul General is not under the jurisdiction of the Ambassador to the Netherlands, and reports directly to the U.S. Department of State as do other chiefs of mission, who are ambassadors in charge of embassies.[14]


The American Service-Members' Protection Act, passed in 2002 under President George W. Bush, grants the US president authorization to use "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any U.S. or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court." It has been derisively nicknamed The Hague Invasion Act, as it would in theory authorize the president of the United States to invade The Hague, which is the seat of the Dutch government and the seat of several international criminal courts, should they prosecute an American citizen or ally. The act is widely considered to be symbolic, and that the threat of invasion by the U.S. is unrealistic.[15]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Nordholt, Jan Willem Schulte, and Robert P. Swierenga. Bilateral Bicentennial: A History of Dutch-American Relations, 1782-1982 (1982) 279pp


  1. ^ U.S. Relations With the Netherlands, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
  2. ^ Relations between the Netherlands and the United States of America, Rijksoverheid
  3. ^ Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, The American President Project
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "First Official Salute To The American Flag". American Heritage Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 2015-05-12. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Netherlands - Countries - Office of the Historian". Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Dutch American Friendship Day / Heritage Day – U.S. Embassy The Hague, Netherlands". November 16, 1991. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ Michael J. Douma, "The Lincoln Administration's Negotiations to Colonize African Americans in Dutch Suriname." Civil War History 61#2 (2015): 111-137. online
  10. ^ White House FDI Report 2013
  11. ^ "Economic Ties Home - Economic Ties". Economic Ties. Retrieved 18 May 2016.  horizontal tab character in |title= at position 15 (help)
  12. ^ 400 Years of Economic Ties between the US and the Netherlands - By State. Economic Ties, 2014
  13. ^ "Dutch F16 jets to start bombing in Syria, ministers agree". Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Chiefs of Mission
  15. ^ The Christian Science Monitor (13 February 2009). "Dutch still wincing at Bush-era 'Invasion of The Hague Act'". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website (Background Notes).[2]

External links[edit]