Hiding in Plain Sight

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From Henry Hudson, who on behalf of the Dutch East India Company sailed his ship De Halve Maen up the river that now bears his name, to the farmers of Alberta who arrived with containerloads of equipment and livestock in the early 2000s, the Dutch have been coming to North America in a steady stream for more than 400 years.

According to the latest figures about five million Americans and one million Canadians are of Dutch descent. But there is no Little Holland in New York City, no Dutchtown in San Francisco, no Netherlands Village in Toronto. So where are all those Dutch North-Americans?

Mostly they have integrated neatly into their new homelands. But they have left traces. You just have to know where to look. In this selection of essays and columns, previously published in DUTCH the magazine, Tom Bijvoet explores aspects of Dutch immigration to North America. He delves into his own experiences as a recent immigrant, visits ‘Dutch towns’ such as Kinderhook, New York and Lynden, Washington and highlights the lives of notable, but not necessarily well-known, Dutch North-Americans.

Collectively his essays give an interesting flavor of what it means to be Dutch in North-America and where to look for the telltale signs of a Dutch presence, individually they make for fascinating explorations into a hidden world of Dutchness.

Tom Bijvoet came to Canada with his family from the Netherlands in 1999. He has been the managing editor of De Krant (Monthly Magazine for Americans and Canadians of Dutch Origin) since 2008. In 2011 he founded DUTCH the magazine, to which he still is a regular contributor. He is the co-host of a monthly podcast about the North American Dutch (Dutch the podcast) and is a regular guest host for Toronto radio program The Dutch Touch. Tom is the Canadian correspondent for Dutch public radio program Bureau Buitenland.