Zwaanendael Museum celebrates Dutch-American Heritage Day Nov. 16

"Landing of the DeVries Colony" by Stanley Arthur. SOURCE SUBMITTED
October 24, 2013

A celebration of the long-standing bonds between the city of Lewes and the Netherlands is on tap at the Zwaanendael Museum at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Curator of Archaeology Chuck Fithian will present “The Zwaanendael Settlement,” a Dutch-American Heritage Day lecture.

In addition to “The Swanendael Settlement,” the museum will feature Dutch-related activities from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. including crafts, a display of Dutch products, the proclamation of Dutch-American Heritage Day and a presentation on the first salute to the flag of the United States.

Admission to all events is free and open to the public. For more information, call 302-645-1148.

Dutch-American Heritage Day commemorates Nov. 16, 1776, the day when the American warship Andrew Doria sailed into the harbor of the Dutch island of St. Eustatius in the West Indies. Only four months before, the United States had declared its independence from Great Britain.

The American crew was delighted when the governor of the island, Johannes de Graaf, ordered that his fort's cannons be fired in a friendly salute. This salute was the first ever given by a foreign power to the flag of the United States. De Graaf's welcoming first salute was a sign of respect that continues to symbolize the deep ties of friendship that exist between the United States and the Netherlands.

Ongoing exhibits at the Zwaanendael include Delaware and the War of 1812, which focuses on service and sacrifice of Delawareans from 1812 to 1815 and the role played by the state in that conflict. Also ongoing is A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World, an exhibit that displays artifacts recovered from His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak – a British warship that sank off the Delaware coast May 25, 1798 – to tell the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context in which it operated in the Atlantic world of the late 18th century.