Thanksgiving in the Netherlands

The Dutch have more ties to the first Thanksgiving than you might realize

The Netherlands
Traces of the first Pilgrims can still be found in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Although most Americans wouldn’t know it, Thanksgiving Day is important for the Dutch. You might remember from your history lesson, but before heading to North America, the Pilgrims actually landed in Leiden in the Netherlands (where they ended up staying for 11 years).

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Today in Leiden, there is an annual Thanksgiving Celebration held at the Pieterskerk (see above), a Gothic church in the city where one of the Pilgrim leaders, John Robinson, is buried. Additionally, Leiden is home to the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum. This small establishment recreates 16th- and 17th-century furnishings from the time of the Pilgrims.

Locals and tourists can find traditional Thanksgiving meals throughout the country on the third Thursday of every November. Restaurants like the Hard Rock Café, as well as several American associations, host traditional meals with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, and dressing.

Wanting to add a traditional Dutch dish to your Thanksgiving meal? Consider stamppot, a dish of mashed potatoes and kale.

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