Celebration of First Ever New Amsterdam Cultural Heritage Day

Celebration of First Ever New Amsterdam Cultural Heritage Day

On April 8th, New York will now celebrate the historic ties with Amsterdam on New Amsterdam Cultural Heritage Day. The New York City Mayor’s Office declared this in a mayoral message by Bill de Blasio, which was handed to Mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema by Commissioner of the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) Pauline Toole.


The day was celebrated by a lecture by Russell Shorto, the renowned author of Island at the Center of the World, on the historical relationship between Amsterdam and New Amsterdam. In 2016, the New York Municipal Archives and the City Archives of Amsterdam (Stadsarchief) launched their project New Amsterdam Stories. On April 8, the latest addition to the New Amsterdam Stories, inquiries into New Amsterdam’s “burgher right” (established in April 1657 and modeled after city citizenship in Amsterdam), were presented by Dr. Dennis Maika, Senior Historian at the New Netherland Institute.

Historian Russell Shorto

Finally, Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, received the mayoral. Mayor Halsema stated that “Our city really is greatly honored. Of course, Amsterdam will do everything it can to make this new annual celebration a lasting success.”

Mayor Femke Halsema

Consul Dolph Hogewoning speaks

Upper row from left to right: Dr. Dennis Maika from the New Netherland Institute, Consul General Dolph Hogewoning, Director of the Stadsarchief Amsterdam Bert de Vries, Michael Lorenzini from the New York City Municipal Archives, Cultural Attache Joost Taverne, Russell Shorto. Lower row from left to right: Commissioner of the NYC Department of Records Pauline Toole, Mayor Femke Halsema, Director of the New York City Municipal Archives Sylvia Kollar, Sophie van Doornmalen, Senior Cultural Officer Shared Cultural Heritage from the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York.

On this special occasion of the visit of Mayor Halsema, selected historical documents that highlight the link between Amsterdam and New Amsterdam, from the New York City Municipal Archives, its counterpart, the Stadsarchief Amsterdam, and the New York State Archives were on display at 31 Chambers Street, Manhattan. These documents detail the government’s response to residents who petitioned in 1657 to be granted the rights of citizenship, and in turn, the responsibilities that come with those rights.

New Amsterdam Stories

The Municipal Archives and the Stadsarchief Amsterdam have been digitizing and making available 17th Century records related to New Amsterdam, the Dutch settlement that would become New York City.  The partnership brings 17th Century archival collections to wider audiences and establishes opportunities for greater knowledge-sharing and storytelling.  Together they have built a digital platform that shares these materials and facilitates research newamsterdamstories.archives.nyc