Monday, February 2, 2009
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (front) is joined by Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen, during a news conferencein Manhattan.
New York city is embracing its Dutch heritage with a yearlong celebration marking the anniversary of when Henry Hudson is believed to have landed in Manhattan, around September 1609.
Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen joined New York mayor Michael Bloomberg last Wednesday on the southern tip of Manhattan to commemorate the anniversary. Bloomberg said: "We really do have a very deep history, and it can be traced back to Hudson's arrival, and the small Dutch settlement that sprang up in its wake."
Hudson, an English explorer, arrived aboard the Dutch vessel Halve Maen (Half Moon) on a trip sponsored by the Dutch East India Company. He was seeking passage to Asia, but instead stumbled upon what is now Manhattan. His voyage soon attracted Dutch traders to the island, who established New Amsterdam and the New Netherland colony. They gave neighborhoods Dutch names, including Harlem (Haarlem), Brooklyn (Breukelen) and Staten Island (after the Staten-Generaal, the Dutch parliament).
The Dutch were eventually supplanted by the British, and their contributions to the emerging colony became largely forgotten.
The Netherlands government unveiled designs last week for a pavilion in Manhattan as a gift. The public space, to go up by the end of 2009, will serve as a tribute to the connection between the Dutch and New York City, officials said. New York is planning a number of events. Those include a special exhibit of tulips at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and an exhibit of art from Amsterdam at the Museum of Modern Art.