10 things that show the Dutch's influence on America
We're all aware of the influence of the Englishmen on Americans, but what is known about things and traditions introduced by other countries? As it turns out, the Dutch played a crucial role in building the culture of the New World.
After the Englishmen settled in Jamestown, Virginia, a Dutch company hired an English sailor, Henry Hudson to find a "northeast" passage to Asia. He decided to find a "northwest" passage instead that would lead him to India. After sailing the Atlantic for a while, he came across a river, which is known as the Hudson River today.
He returned to Europe because the water was too shallow for his ship to continue sailing. The Dutch company claimed the entire Hudson Valley as their new trading post. They called it New Amsterdam which is known as New York today. While they settled there, Americans imbibed parts of their culture. Here are some of them:
#1 Santa Claus, the man who brings gifts on Christmas
Known as "Sinterklaas" or "de Kerstman" (meaning the Christmas Man), he was held in high esteem by the Dutch because he was thought to be a better icon for Father Christmas than St. Nicholas.
In fact, this is why a St. Nicholas Avenue still remains in Upper Manhattan, New York today. The Dutch kids who were in new Amsterdam used to hang their socks on the eve of December 5th, hoping for Santa to come.
#2 Let's bowl
The sport of bowling also has Dutch origins. The Dutch in New Amsterdam bowled in their multipurpose park. The Dutch chose that place because of its convenience. After the English took over, it was referred to as Bowling Green.
#3 We go on ice
Ice skating was also introduced by the Dutch, but there are arguments that it was the Scottish who first brought it to the Americans. However, on closer observation, especially at the timelines, you would see that the Dutch first created steel blades, which is important in modern-day ice skating.
There are stories that during winter, the Dutch would skate over to their neighbors in Breukelen, modern day Brooklyn.
The Dutch loved their liquor. Their first town hall was a tavern. A lot of their buildings had bars. In fact, Peter Stuyvesant, the last director-general of New Amsterdam had to make a rule which prevented the sale of alcohol before 2 P.M. because people were always drunk.
#5 Cookies, maybe crumbs
This may come as a surprise but cookies are originally a Dutch recipe. They are known as "koekje" which is translated as "little cakes." The Dutch's used them to test the heat of their ovens. Their little children used to form a line to get these little cakes from the oven.
#6 The American staple diet
Surprised to see this one? Well, pancakes, doughnuts, pretzels, waffles are all Dutch recipes. In 1989, a 17th-century Dutch cookbook was translated into English. It contained the recipes for most of what is considered as the major portion of typical American diet today.
Although this dish is regarded as a German one, it's origin is Dutch. The term "coleslaw" is the American name for "koolesalade" a Dutch dish which is translated as “cabbage salad”. It consists of cabbage, melted butter, vinegar, and oil. This was the recipe before the creation of mayonnaise which is now used as a dressing.
#8 "The Boss"
The word "boss" is said to be one of the most hated words in business, and we have the Dutchmen to thank for that. It has its etymology from the word "baas" which means master. This original word is still being used in New Amsterdam today.
This article is filled with surprises and here’s yet another one. Democracy in America was introduced by the Dutch in 1649 when they founded the government known as the board of nine.
The people chose their representative and when the director-general refused to meet with their petition, they drafted a bill of rights which ensured that they had representatives in government. This paved the way for American democracy with New York as the pacesetter.
#10 Religious tolerance
The Dutch of New Amsterdam were known for their religious tolerance. They were the first set of people who openly allowed Jews to worship. New Amsterdam became a culturally inclusive place and it was only because of the Dutch’s respect for freedom of conscience.
What other Dutch practices do you think are common among Americans? We bet there's still a lot out there and await your responses in the comment section.
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