|The Netherlands America Institute
What is the NAIL?
Following World War Two (WWII),
the Netherlands-America Institute (NAI) was established at Amsterdam in 1946. The NAI placed great emphasis on
exchange/scholarship programmes between the Netherlands and America. However, the Limburg Chapter of the NAI
determined they wished to place more focus on the long-term sustainment of
robust friendships between the US and Limburg. This was driven by the fact that
the US played a huge role in the Allied liberation of South Limburg in WWII and
Margraten Cemetery (today the resting place of 8301 American soldiers) together
with its Adoption Programme whereby local families look after the graves, had
been set up in 1946. This undercurrent
of opinion gave rise to a more independent branch of the NAI, the Netherlands
America Institute Limburg (NAIL), in 1952. Similar groups established after the Second
World War elsewhere in the Netherlands have ceased to function, but the NAIL
Why? Because of two key reasons:
First, the special bond formed
between the people of Limburg and the USA in the wake of the liberation of this
region in 1944-45 inter alia by
American troops. There are still NAIL
members today who, as children, personally witnessed the arrival of US troops
in their towns, housed US soldiers in their homes, and care for the graves of
the thousands of US soldiers interred in the war cemetery at Margraten. More graves of US soldiers have been "adopted”
by ordinary citizens at Margraten than at any other US war cemetery. The fact that so many local people continue to
visit Margraten, including Dutch schoolchildren, underscores the region’s
continuing commitment to US-Dutch relations.
Second, the NATO and US
military presence here in the region has established strong ties with US senior
commanders, military personnel and civilians. Thanks to their continuous support and
commitment the NAIL remains strong.
NAIL is a non-political organization and most members are, or have been, part
of military and/or civilian national and/or international entities. Today, the NAIL has circa 300 members
comprising American, Belgian, British, Dutch, German, Irish, Italian and
Spanish nationals. We have established
strong ties with the US Embassy and its Consul General in The Hague, the US
communities of US Army Garrison Schinnen (including personnel of the US Coast
Guard based at that location), Joint Force Command Brunssum, NATO Air Base
Geilenkirchen, AFNORTH International School, the Limburg Veterans Day
Foundation, the SHAK 1944 Foundation, the Overseas Americans
Remember Foundationand the Foundation of the Adoption of American Graves Margraten.
are NAIL Objectives?
The key objectives of the
- to maintain & strengthen social, cultural
and economic ties;
do we do?
Essentially the NAIL is a
platform facilitating people to connect, to identify synergies and to establish
networks resulting in mutual understanding and appreciation. This platform generates a wide range of
activities. Major NAIL events are the
annual Memorial Eve gathering and participation in Memorial Day Services the
following Day, and the celebration of the birthday of the Netherlands King,
Willem-Alexander. Other activities include themed dinner & dance events,
beer calls, meetings, excursions/visits to local breweries, international
organizations such as EUROCONTROL and European Institutions such as the EU
Parliament & Commission, factories, historic sites, museums, castles and
selected regional restaurants. The NAIL
also sponsors special guest lectures on topics of interest. If you have a particular field of expertise or
interest, we would welcome having you speak at a NAIL-organized event!
In keeping with an objective
to broaden the appeal and reach of the NAIL over recent years we have sponsored
a number of local and regional projects. Amongst others, these have included the American Spouses Club Auction,
the Open Air Theatre at Valkenburg, the Terry Fox Run and the Schutterij St.
Gertrudis Amstenrade .
But, we should not forget
that we aim to promote & preserve the cultural, economic and social
contacts between the Netherlands and the USA. Furthermore, the provision of information
& assistance to Americans residing in Limburg and elsewhere in the
Netherlands is an essential objective for us.
is the NAIL organized?
The NAIL has a Board
comprising of 7 voting members and 4 advisors. It is fully accountable for its actions to its members. To ensure transparency and accountability a
General Membership Meeting is held annually.
Do I Join?
Are you interested to join, but would appreciate
additional clarification and/or information? Please contact one of the following to
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/naillimburg/
NAIL Website – http://naillimburg.wixsite.com/naillimburg
SHAK stands for the ‘Stichting Herdenking Amerikaanse Kerstviering 1944’. This translates into English as ‘Foundation
of the Commemoration of the American Christmas Celebration 1944’. Founded in September 1994, SHAK is a
volunteer organization with the goal of organizing an annual commemoration of
the Mass of the American Christmas Celebration on December 24, 1944, held by US
soldiers in caves adjacent to Maastricht. The initiative of the Mass was an idea of the Brothers of the Immaculate
Conception who, at the time, were the owners of the cave system. The Mass was celebrated in Schark Cave, in the
neighbourhood of St. Pieter’s Mountain in Maastricht. Between 250 and
280, mostly very young American soldiers, attended this Christmas Celebration
Mass. After the Mass many of the soldiers inscribed their names on the
walls in charcoal and most of these remain legible today.
The goal of the Overseas Americans
Remember Foundation is to dignify and commemorate days and events that must not
be forgotten. Its events are inclusive
and reach out to people of all nations, races and religions.
 The Terry Fox Run is an annual non-competitive
charity event held in numerous regions around the world in commemoration of
Canadian canceractivist Terry Fox,
and his Marathon of Hope, that raises money for cancer research. The event was founded in 1981 by Isadore Sharp,
who contacted Terry in hospital by telegram and expressed his wishes to hold an
annual run in Terry's name to raise funds for cancer research. Sharp himself had lost a son to cancer in 1979. Since its inception, the run has raised via the 'Terry Fox Foundation' over
$700 million. The
run itself is informal which means that the distance often varies, usually
between 5 and 15 kilometres; participation is considered to be more important
than completing the set distance. There
are also runs set up by schools of every level, often with shorter distances
than the "official" ones.
‘Schutterij’ refers to a voluntary city guard or citizen militia in the medieval and early modern Netherlands. Originally its
task was to protect the town or city from attack and act in case of revolt or
fire. Their training grounds were often
on open spaces within the city, near the city walls, but, when the weather did
not allow, inside a church. They are
mostly grouped according to their district and to the weapon that they used: bow, crossbow or gun. Together, its members are called a
Schuttersgilde, which could be roughly translated as a "shooter's guild". It is
now a title applied to ceremonial shooting clubs and to the country's Olympic
If you would like to join and
need no further information please fill and send the application form that has
also been posted to this site.