There is little argument that the United States has been blessed with inspiring Americans of Dutch descent. These Americans include Dick Van Dyke, Eddie Van Halen, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, just to name a few. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and FDR were also Dutch, and are highlighted in our Dutch “Facts” section at TheGrumpyDutchman.com.
However, today we salute another inspiring Dutch-American: Martin Van Buren. President Van Buren was the eighth president of the United States, the first president to actually be born in the United States, and the first president from New York. To this day, Van Buren is also the only president not to have spoken English as his first language.
Although Van Buren’s presidency was a bit troubled due to inheriting horrible economic policies, lingering wars with the Native Americans, and issues with Mexico, Van Buren did have one resounding success: Awesome Sideburns.
There isn’t another president in the history of the United States that had a set of mutton chops like Van Buren wore. When I peruse through presidential photos of Van Buren, they all look like he’s smirking at me as if to say “That’s right buddy, you’ll never have a set of chops like these.” And believe me, I tried. I grew a huge set of chops in college. They traveled all the way across my cheeks and touched the corners of my mouth, making a fury triangle of Dutch-inspired awesomeness. I could twist them up and stick them in my ear, or feather them out so far it would make Farrah Fawcett jealous. However, my sideburns never measured up to Van Buren’s. After a while, I figured out that the size of my sideburns might be inversely proportional to the amount of dates I was going on, and I shaved them off (PS – it didn’t help).
Anyway, if you’re keeping a list of amazing Dutch-American accomplishments in your wallet like I am, you can now add “Best Facial Hair by a US President” to the list. That factoid sure makes me proud to be a Dutchman!