Back in the day

World War Two (WWII)

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 remains strong.


Why? because of two key reasons

Special bond

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 continued support and commitment, the NAIL remains strong. In addition to the above parties, we also work together with various other organizations. For example, we work with JFC HQ in Brunssum, the NATO Air base in Geilenkirchen & the US Coast Guard Atlantic Area. Finally, we also work together with the American cemetery in Margraten.

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