Monday, September 8, 2014

Amsterdan (for Amsterdam)

The fall of New Amsterdam, the day that Director-General Peter Stuyvesant surrendered the island of Manhattan to the British, led by the Duke of York, took place 350 years ago today. And while history is reportedly written by the winners, New York City isn't exactly throwing a party to mark the occasion. In 1864, the city's bicentennial was celebrated with a gala New-York Historical Society dinner at the Cooper Institute; the official founding date may have prompted the otherwise bad timing of the New York World's Fair in 1964. But as the years wore on, New Yorkers grew to appreciate the history of New Netherland and the many contributions of the Dutch. (Tolerance and tulips alone are not a bad legacy!) In the 1970s, City Council President Paul O'Dwyer even launched a successful campaign to have the date on the NYC seal changed from 1664 to 1625. And up here in the state capital of Albany, formerly known as Beverwyck, our hearts and heritage have always been with our original Dutch masters. (A Dutch friend, who still refers to this as the "theft of New Netherland," writes that "almost 400 years ago, on 11 October, one might say New Netherland was born, with the patent granted to the New Netherland Company. The first time this name was given to the area. That's much more memorable, as in a way New Netherland still exists.") There were only three cases of Amsterdan (for Amsterdam) found in OhioLINK, but a rather surprising 1054 in WorldCat.

(The Fall of New Amsterdam, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

No comments: