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Netherlands Ambassador, Orange County Officials Bond Over Shared History

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People in Orange County learned their heritage on March 23 People in Orange County learned their heritage on March 23
Henne Schuwer, ambassador from the Netherlands Henne Schuwer, ambassador from the Netherlands
Jim Crozier of the Orange County Board of Supervisors Jim Crozier of the Orange County Board of Supervisors
The Netherlands' delegation brought this letter from the Library of Congress The Netherlands' delegation brought this letter from the Library of Congress
ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

The ambassador of the Netherlands is paying a special visit to Orange County to strengthen historical ties to the area.

For years, people assumed the county was named after the Dutch prince of Orange. On Friday, March 23, that assumption was confirmed.

In addition to confirming the history behind Orange County’s name, the Dutch ambassador and county leaders are discussing the possibility of building economic ties.

“We want to strengthen the ties that we have, and then any new ones that are viable will benefit,” says Jim Crozier, the vice chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

A delegation from the Dutch embassy is traveling throughout Orange County to reconnect with history and create new relationships.

“This is a special place for us, this is Orange County, and Orange not because of the fruit, but Orange is because of the House of Orange,” says Henne Schuwer, the ambassador from the Netherlands. “This was William IV, Prince of Orange, who married the daughter of James II of England and they named this county on the occasion of their marriage.”

Prior to Friday, that history was still questionable. But after embassy staff from the Netherlands presented a replica of the original letter sent by Lieutenant Governor William Gooch, the naming of Orange County was confirmed.

“We found it in the Library of Congress, we made a replica out of it, printed it on sheep skin like it, and presented it to the authorities here in Orange County as a sign of our friendship,” says Schuwer.

During the visit, they toured Battlefield Farms facility and talked about possible ways that the Netherlands could partner with the county.

“There's a historic tie,” says Schuwer. “Secondly, this is a county that's interesting for us because it's very much an agricultural county – we, the Netherlands, are the second biggest agricultural exporter in the world.”

Crozier agrees that the two have much to learn from each other.

“It keeps things going, and this visit just generates more interest from both the Netherlands as well as our county to work with each other to further growth for both of us,” says Crozier.

County and Dutch officials talked in depth over lunch about the possibility of collaboration and sharing of resources.

The ambassador will continue his tour Friday and Saturday at common areas throughout the county.