Since I have Dutch-American heritage, spent my kid-teen years in New Hampshire, and have an abiding love for the history and culture of the two countries, Kevin Kelley’s article was indeed a fascinating read [“Long Before Mexican Farm Workers, the Dutch Saved Addison County Dairying,” July 1]. He could have been describing many Dutch immigrants currently living in this country who came here at the same time as the families of the Addison County farmers. However, my Dutch father (he would have been 95 years old this year), married to an American in 1947 and naturalized in 1950, was atypical. He was left-leaning politically. He joined the Dutch merchant marine to escape the stifling atmosphere of the Netherlands and was glad to leave it there.
Unsurprisingly, the (Republican) farmers in the article frown on today’s Dutch society. But surely, the problems dealing with immigration, religion, culture and the effects of a global economy in the Netherlands are the same as we have in this country. My family recognized that neither country was perfect and was fascinated by the changes on return visits to friends and family in the “Old Country.” With typical Dutch stubbornness and unwavering arrogance, the immigrants described in your article cling to retrogressive traditions brought with them from Holland that are no longer sustainable, neither in 21st-century America nor in a vibrant, modern, innovative and multicultural Holland.