Leiden Expat Center


Thanksgiving Day Service

Please join us at this non-denominational service on Thanksgiving morning at the historic Pieterskerk. There will be a Catholic priest, Protestant ministers, a rabbi and a cantor. Our Dutch friends and friends from all nations and of all faiths are welcome. This is a service for everyone!

Thanksgiving at the Pieterskerk in Leiden is unique. In that church, the Pilgrims recorded their births, marriages and deaths. They lived in its surroundings from 1609 to 1620.
Some of the descendants of Moses Fletcher, a Leiden Pilgrim and subsequently a signer of the Mayflower Compact, still live there.

Ria Koet, his direct descendant, will tell the story of her family. The Koets are the only
non-American members of the Mayflower Society.

On the occasion of the first visit of a sitting American President to The Netherlands, the Pieterskerk was the chosen site for President George H.W. Bush to speak. The Bush family trace their ancestry to Francis Cooke, also a signer of the Mayflower Compact and a Leiden pilgrim. President Obama also has family roots in Leiden.

In Leiden, one feels how inextricably the values of the American nation are linked with The Netherlands.

The story of a group of English dissenters who were welcomed there and able to live and worship freely and even publish at a time when freedom of religion and the press were certainly not the norm, is a Dutch story, an American and the story of all nations that aspire to be free. The congregation will sing familiar hymns.  Coincidentally, one of them, “We Gather Together,” is Dutch and familiar to Dutch people as “Wilt Heden Nu Treden.”

The Mayor of Leiden, the Honorable Henri Lenferink, will welcome everyone and the Honorable Edwin R. Nolan, Chargé D’Affaires of the United States Embassy, will read excerpts from the annual Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of the President. Thanksgiving is “proclaimed” each year on the fourth Thursday of November.

The Choir and Band of the American School will be there, as will the Scouts and “The Little Pilgrims.” Children are an integral part of the Service as they should be.

You won’t forget Thanksgiving in Leiden! Join us! Bring your friends and neighbors.

Location: Pieterskerk, Leiden
Date: November 24, 2011
Time: 11:00

Mar 2017