LANSING — Nov. 16, 2017, will be Dutch-American Heritage Day in the state of Michigan, thanks to a resolution introduced by state Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), the co-chairwoman of the Legislative Dutch Caucus. The resolution, approved by the House last week, marks the day in 1776 when the Dutch fort on St. Eustatius in the West Indies fired the first salute to the flag representing the newly independent United States.

“I’m the proud daughter of Dutch immigrants, and I honor the historic ties between the land of my parents’ birth and the country I call home,” Rep. Brinks said. “Today, there are more than 500,000 people with Dutch ancestry in our state, and their contributions have helped make Michigan the place we all know and love.”

The diplomatic ties between the United States and the Netherlands are the longest continual ties our country has shared with any nation. Michigan started to attract large numbers of Dutch immigrants in the 1840s. Many settled in West Michigan and operated farms, worked in furniture-making factories or other industries. Dutch heritage is celebrated annually at the Tulip Time Festival in Holland.

“My Legislative Dutch Caucus co-chair, state Rep. Rob VerHuelen (R-Walker), and I are proud of the contributions Dutch-Americans have made to Michigan, and of enduring ties between the U.S. and the Netherlands,” Rep. Brinks said. “Dutch immigrants helped weave the tapestry of Michigan’s culture, and I’m proud to share the celebration of my heritage with the Legislature and everyone around the state.”