May 31, 2009

Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson

Apr 4 through Sep 27

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.

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