King's Day

Jefferson’s guide for the American traveler begins in Amsterdam, the great port city that he had visited to obtain badly-needed loans for the fledgling U.S. government. He celebrated his success in securing the credit by going on a shopping spree (not for the last time). Liana and I visit Amsterdam on King’s Day, watching the Dutch honor their monarch by wearing the national color of orange, holding a city-wide yard sale, and partying in canals. We learn about the Dutch constitutional monarchy, history of trade, and ethos of tolerance. Also, we drink a lot. We also visit Germany, next in Jefferson's guide.

The Author

Derek Baxter graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in history. He is writing a book about his experience following the route through Europe that Jefferson set out in Hints to Americans. After years of research, Derek made nine separate trips abroad on Jefferson's trail. 


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The Great Tun of wine at Heidelberg. Naturally, Jefferson tried to calculate how much wine it could hold. The Tun is still there, but, to my disappointment, at some point in history somebody drank up all the wine.