7.28.2007

Dutch Salsa

It's always interested me why the good folks of the Netherlands (the Dutch) show such interest in American Taino. They visit the weblog at three times the rate of the Germans and the French--and over twice the rate of the Spanish.

Actually, the Dutch have shown more interest in American Taino than have Latin Americans except for those in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Why?

While I honestly don't know, I suspect it has something to do with the openness and curiosity of the Dutch. As a crossroads of Western Europe, the Netherlands has always been a multi-lingual and multi-cultural society. For example, the Dutch never fail to amaze me with their fluency in English and other world languages. It probably also has something to do with the strong presence of the Dutch in the Caribbean.

Latin Americans and people from the Caribbean have found their way to the Netherlands, settling there in growing numbers. According to the Migration Institute, some 25,000 Latin Americans were living in the Netherlands in 2005. And as one can imagine, there are children whose parents are Latino and Dutch.

Actually, recently I completed an online survey on Taino parentage sent to me by a student studying at a Dutch University. The young woman is a Dutch citizen of Puerto Rican and Dutch heritage.

And then there's this bit of information from the Netherlands: The Dutch love Salsa.

While Salsa is popular across a number of European capitols, the Dutch seem to have made it their own, including holding an national Salsa Festival each year. This year's festival takes place October 26-28 in the Dutch historic city of Haarlem. (And yes, NYC's Harlem was named after the Dutch Haarlem. After all, NYC was originally a Dutch City.)

Of course, we can't forget that the Netherland Antilles of Sint Maartens, Bonaire, Saba, Curacao and Sint Eustatius are Caribbean neighbors of Puerto Rico. This may explain actor Jimmy Smits' Puerto Rican and Dutch heritage. And Puerto Rico itself was captured by the Dutch in 1625 and held for a period of time.

Here are just a few Dutch Salsa websites:

SalsaFestival.nl
Salsa.nl

Salsa - Amsterdam.nl
Salsanet.nl - The Dutch Resource for Salsa and Samba
Salsaforum.nl
UnionSalsa.nl

And the Dutch in Puerto Rico website:

The Dutch Club of Puerto Rico