Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson
Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson, presented in collaboration with the New Netherland Project, Albany, and the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam/Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam, will employ rare 16th– and 17th–century objects, images, and documents from major American and Dutch collections to bring the transatlantic world to life and reveal how Henry Hudson’s epic third voyage of exploration planted the seeds of a modern society that took root and flourished in the New World.
Focusing on the economic, cultural, and ideological connections that ultimately linked two global cities, Amsterdam and New York, Amsterdam/New Amsterdam will illuminate not only the global significance of Hudson’s voyage, but also the creative context out of which the exploration and settlement of New York itself arose, highlighting the Dutch role in creating the very character of New York as a place of opportunity, tolerance, and perpetual transformation.
In 1609, Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, made the first exploration of what is now New York Harbor and of the majestic river that today bears his name, laying the foundation for the Dutch claim on the area. His voyage of discovery led to the creation of the Dutch West India Company and ultimately to the founding of New Netherland, including its trading post at the mouth of the river — New Amsterdam.
The exhibition will invite visitors to consider the voyages of Hudson in the context of the Dutch role in the Age of Exploration, and as the first link between the Dutch civilization and culture of the Old World and that of the colony that they would soon build in the New. The multicultural, dynamic colony that grew up there was profoundly shaped by its Dutch origins, which continued to influence its development even after the Dutch ceded the young colony to the British in 1664.
Visitors will discover:
- how scientific advances in the 13th and 14th centuries laid the groundwork for exploration and trade that characterized the 15th and 16th centuries, and how the political events in Europe led to the emergence of the Dutch Republic and its rise to empire;
- the forces that made the Dutch Republic a source of liberal attitudes toward diversity at a time when religious and ideological differences were tearing apart much of Europe;
- the important role of Dutch enterprise and commercial growth in stimulating discovery and invention in this dynamic age, focusing on joint–stock trading companies like the Dutch East India Company and Dutch West India Company, which played a key role in Amsterdam’s rise to power;
- how New Amsterdam drew its physical, cultural, and political character from its mother city;
- the struggles of the new colony and the complex relationship between the Company and the people of New Amsterdam, including Native Americans, African slaves and freed people, and Europeans of many national and religious origins;
- the process by which the settlers in New Amsterdam transformed the politics, culture, and economy of the colony to re–invent their lives in the New World;
- the struggle for toleration by religious minorities such as Quakers and Jews, and the ultimate triumph of the Dutch model of inclusion;
- the many Dutch influences, from the built environment to religious and cultural tolerance, that continue to distinguish New York City today.
Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson is made possible in part with support from the Consulate-General of the Netherlands in New York as part of its NY400 Celebrations (www.ny400.org).
Lead sponsorship is provided by Alexander J. Roepers, Netherland-American Foundation, New Netherland Institute, and The CITCO Group of Companies. Major support is provided by Aragon Construction, CB Richard Ellis, Ted Moudis Associates, and the New York Council for the Humanities. Additional support is provided by Collegiate Church Corporation, Evenson Best, Knoll, Longbow Capital Partners, L.P., The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, Netherlands American Community Trust, and TNT, as well as by David and Ide Dangoor, HAL Holding N.V., Island Architectural Woodwork, Inc., and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, LLP. Support from Hazewinkel Corp, John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation, Gerry Vos, Roelf E. Rogaar, and Wade F.B. Thompson is gratefully acknowledged.