News: US Ambassador Visits the RIAS

On Monday 5 October 2020 the US Ambassador, Peter Hoekstra, visited the RIAS as part of a film tour of Dutch locations of major significance to US-Netherlands relations.

The four-part film series covers the following locations: the Canal House at Keizersgracht 529, Amsterdam, where John Adams resided during 1780-82 as an envoy for the American colonies before becoming the second President of the US in 1796; Leiden, where John Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams, studied in the early 1780s, before going on to become himself US Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1794-96 and US President in 1824-28; Buren in Gelderland, the home town of the eighth US President Martin van Buren; and Zeeland, the home province of the Roosevelts.

The film in Middelburg involved a conversation between the Ambassador and RIAS Academic Director Giles Scott-Smith on the roots of the Roosevelts in Zeeland and the origins of the Roosevelt Institute in the Four Freedoms awards, which were first presented in Middelburg in 1982. Everyone then went to Oud-Vossemeer to view the village council building (Raadhuis) where the coat of arms of the Roosevelt family is displayed, and there is a small exhibition on the ties between Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Netherlands.

Arrival at RIAS Library
Looking at the RIAS collection
Film shooting and conversation at the RIAS

Theodore Roosevelt visited the Netherlands as part of a European tour in 1910, but did not come to Zeeland. Franklin came closest to Dutch soil when passing the island of Eustatius on a Caribbean cruise. Eleanor visited Utrecht to receive an honorary doctorate in 1948 and is the only one of the three who actually visited Zeeland when she went to Oud-Vossemeer as part of a Marshall Plan promotion tour in 1950.

ER in Oud-Vossemeer, 1950