History of Dutch immigrants in North-America
1,035,965 Canadians are of Dutch descent
more than 5 million Americans have Dutch origin
over 250 Canadian Christian Reformed Churches were built by the Dutch
5 of the 43 American presidents were from Dutch descent *
2000 Dutch war brides moved to Canada after the Second World War
Americans and Canadians who live in The Netherlands total around 35,000
(* these five presidents were: Martin van Buren,Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush)
The Dutch have been immigrating to North America in large numbers since the late eighteen hundreds. The first wave of immigrants came for religious reasons or for better job prospects. When the religious disagreements in the Netherlands reached their peak, many Dutch immigrated to the United States and started their own churches. Canada on the other hand was a popular destination for its free farm land in the Prairies. Around 200,000 immigrants came to Canada between 1892 and 1914 in the hope to start their own farm.
After the First World War, the Dutch group of immigrants made a good name for themselves in North America (they were known as hard-working, law-abiding and honest). This made them “especially desirable” to the Canadian and American governments, who were trying to make up for their losses and started advertising a ‘promised land’ in the Netherlands, offering free land and citizenship. Many Dutch packed their up their family and household and boarded the boat to the West.
A third wave of Dutch immigrants arrived after the second World War. During the war the Canadians were the prominent liberators in the Netherlands and a lasting tight bond was formed between the two countries. The Dutch Royal Family fled to Ontario during the war and Princess Margriet was born in the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The Canadian government declared the hospital extraterritorial, so that Margriet’s citizenship was solely influenced by her Dutch mother. After the princess was born the Dutch flag was lifted over Peace Tower. This is the only time a foreign flag was ever raised above the Canadian Parliament.
Today the Dutch in North America are leaders in agriculture, engineering and green technologies. There are many Dutch social clubs in Canada and the United States, with the largest numbers in Ontario and Michigan.
(Sources: wikipedia.com, collectionscanada.gc.ca, immigration-online.org)