LANSING — State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), the co-chairwoman of the Legislative Dutch Caucus, has introduced a resolution that would designate Nov. 16, 2016, as Dutch-American Heritage Day in the state of Michigan. Nov. 16 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.

“As the daughter of Dutch immigrants, I’m proud of my heritage, and of the many contributions that people with Dutch ancestry have made, both to our nation and our state,” Rep. Brinks said. “While Dutch-Americans are strongly identified with West Michigan, more than 500,000 people with Dutch ancestry live across our state, and their cultural influence has made a strong impression on our state.”

Diplomatic ties between the Netherlands and the United States are the longest continual ties our country shares with any other nation. Michigan started to attract large numbers of Dutch immigrants in the 1840s, and many of them settled in West Michigan, where they operated farms and worked in furniture-making and other factories. In Michigan, Dutch heritage is celebrated annually at the Tulip Time Festival in Holland.

“The Legislative Dutch Caucus is proud to celebrate the contributions of the Dutch-American residents of Michigan, and the longstanding ties our country has with the Netherlands,” Rep. Brinks said. “I’m pleased that this resolution recognizes Michiganders with Dutch ancestry and their cultural influence on our state.”