A tradition continues
The West Indisch Huis
Two great institutions owe their existence to Amsterdam's historic West Indisch Huis - the city of New York and the John Adams Institute!
It was here in the headquarters of the Dutch West Indisch Huis 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 Indisch Huis was renovated in the 1980s, when it became the home and symbol of our newly founded institute.
John Adams was co-author of the Declaration of Independence, the first ambassador to the Netherlands, the second US president - inaugurated in 1797, and a great lover of culture and scholarship. A cultured man, an ardent reader, and a book collector, Adams laid an enduring foundation for Dutch-American friendship by signing the Treaty of Amity and Trust with the Dutch in 1782 and securing a loan of 5 million guilders from Amsterdam merchants and bankers to help fund his fledgling nation.
Before being elected the second President of the United States, Adams resided in the Netherlands from 1780-1782 as an envoy and advocate for the American colonies, which were then waging a brutal war for independence against the British. Living in the heart of the city of Amsterdam, at Keizersgracht 529, he actively sought contact with the social-economic elite, befriending bankers, politicians, and other influential persons who could help contribute to support the fledgling republic. The long history of friendship between America and the Netherlands was cemented by Adams and the Netherlands became the second country in the world, after France, to recognize America's independence.
John Adams's biography
Massachusetts Historical Society
MHS has been collecting and preserving materials relating to the history of our commonwealth and our nation. The holdings of the MHS encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history.