The John Adams Institute is an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to furthering a longstanding tradition: cultural exchange between the USA and the Netherlands. Ever since John Adams himself signed a friendship treaty with the Dutch, the two countries have been solidly linked economically, socially and culturally.
In 1987, Holland’s West India Foundation and New York City’s Dutch-American West India Company Foundation planted a seed that would grow into Europe’s leading lecture forum on American culture. Today, the John Adams Institute continues to expose the best and brightest American writers and thinkers to audiences in Amsterdam and The Hague.
Two great institutions owe their existence to Amsterdam’s historic West India House â€“ the city of New York and the John Adams Institute!
It was here in the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company that two irreversible decisions came to pass: the establishment of a Dutch trading base in the New World on the island of Manhattan and, centuries later, the creation of an institution dedicated to transatlantic cultural exchange.
After stints as an orphanage, retirement home and warehouse, the West India House was renovated in the 1980s, when it became the home and symbol of our newly founded institute.
America’s second president was also its first ambassador to the Netherlands. In this role, Adams signed the Treaty of Amity and Trust with the Dutch in 1782. His diplomacy also secured a crucial five-million-guilder loan from Amsterdam merchants and bankers to help fund the fledgling nation. A cultured man and an ardent reader and book collector, Adams laid an enduring foundation for Dutch-American friendship during his time in Amsterdam.
– Source: John Adams Institute, History
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