Frisians first
to recognize USA!

In 1781 the latter American president John Adams arrived in The Hague, asking
to be accepted as an ambassador. This, however, wasn't so simple, because it would imply recognition of the USA by the Dutch, defying the English.
By that time, we still had n't had the French occupation and we still were a federal state. Therefore, such an important decision should be taken by each of the provinces. The rich provinces of Holland and Zeeland hesitated and the others didn't want to offend them.

Then the deadlock was broken by Frisia, the second richest province. On february the 26th of 1782, the Frisian parliament took the decision to instruct their representatives in the Hague to take measures to promote the admission of John Adams as ambassador of the USA, in which they were strongly supported by their citizens. So the Frisians were the first to recognize the independence of the United States of America. On the 19th of April 1782 the Frisian example was followed by the general parliament in The Hague.


Signature of the document in which the Frisians recognized the USA.
One sees the signatures of the districts of Oostergoo, Westergoo, and Zevenwouden.
The scratches indicate the place where the representatives of the towns refused to sign.
But that was only a minority.



The American "Memorial of Gratitude" in the entrance hall of the "Provinsjehûs",
the Frisian house of parliament.


Even now Americans don't forget that deed of the Frisians in 1782, as can be seen from the Memorial of Gratitude, which in between is visited by a number of Americans. And in 1998 president Bill Clinton sent his congratulations to the Frisian parliament on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the province of Friesland.

After an article by Kerst Huisman, Leeuwarder Courant 29th Dec. 1999.