THE HAGUE–The 250th anniversary in 2026, of the First Salute in St. Eustatius to the United States in 1776, merits a celebration in style and an investment in the island’s monuments in anticipation of that event.
Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA brought up the anniversary ten years from now during a meeting of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom with Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Thursday.
Van Laar asked for a plan in anticipation of the anniversary which in his opinion should be elaborately celebrated with the involvement of the Statia and Dutch Government, the Dutch representation in the US and the Royal House. “It would be great if we could assist St. Eustatius with this, and possibly also involve the Royal House,” he said.
“We need a plan for a grand celebration and to secure investments in the monuments and the island itself in preparation of this event. I would like to see this plan executed,” said Van Laar. As an example, he mentioned the 2009 celebration of 400 years of relations between the Netherlands and Manhattan/New York.
Minister Plasterk responded positively. He referred to the First Salute as a “splendid part of heritage” which was surely “interesting” for Americans. “We can do something more with that,” he said.
The First Salute on November 16, 1776, from Fort Oranje by the then Statia Governor Johannes de Graaff to the American brig Andrew Doria was the first international acknowledgement of the American independence.
The further development of this historical aspect which is of great importance to Statia and the Kingdom was certainly warranted, suggested Plasterk who said that he spoke with the Dutch consul general in Miami about this matter.
“The US could possibly also contribute,” said Plasterk, who mentioned that a large celebration would also require investments in facilities such as the harbour and the accommodation for the many guests who would be coming to the island.
The preservation of Statia’s material and intangible heritage is explicitly mentioned in the island’s Multi-Annual Programme 2016 to 2018 signed on February 1, by Minister Plasterk and members of the Executive Council.
Under the heading “tourism and economic development,” it is stated that the Dutch Government, in this case the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK and the National Government Real Estate Agency “Rijksvastgoedbedrijf,” and the Statia Government will work together to preserve Lower Town and Oranjestad’s Historical Chore.
Statia’s historical importance will also be brought more to the attention of tourists, including US visitors. A foundation will be established shortly to accommodate the island’s historical buildings. The programme furthermore mentioned restoration of the Historical Chore around Fort Oranje as a potential investment project.
Source: The Daily Herald Support for grand celebration First Salute Statia anniversary