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Digging for Our Dutch Roots: A Public Program of the New Netherland Institute

From June 24 until June 25, the New Netherland Institute will offer a fact-filled program in Rochester, NY. This two-day event offers an opportunity for teachers, students, genealogists, academics and the general public to learn more about the “forgotten colony” that shaped New York.

Fri, Jun 24 - Sat, Jun 25  2016

The Country Club of Rochester

What were the Dutch doing in America in the seventeenth century, and why didn’t all Americans learn this vital piece of history in school? From June 24 until June 25, the New Netherland Institute will offer a fact-filled program in Rochester, NY.

This two-day event offers an opportunity for teachers, students, genealogists, academics and the general public to learn more about the “forgotten colony” that shaped the New York State area. Renowned scholars like Janny Venema and Charles Gehring will share their knowledge on the subject, and there will be a keynote adress by national bestselling author Russell Shorto.

Learn more about historic individuals like Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the man who owned a colony in today’s New York but never set foot on American soil, while exploring the relationships between the Iroquois and the Dutch, that remained strong under English rule. 


Friday, June 24

The Chatterbox Club, 25 North Goodman Street, Rochester

  • 5:30 PM – Reception and Keynote

 “The Idea of New Netherland,” a keynote address by Russell Shorto, bestselling author of “The Island at the Center of the World and Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City.”

Saturday, June 25

The Country Club of Rochester, 2935 East Avenue, Rochester

  • 8:30 AM – Registration/coffee
  • 9:00–11:30 AM – Presentations

1. Janny Venema, PhD, New Netherland Research Center (NYS Library)

In “Kiliaen van Rensselaer and Early New Netherland (Especially Rensselaerswijck)” Venema will explore some sixteenth- and seventeenth-century history of the Netherlands (told around the person of Kiliaen van Rensselaer) and the reasons for the settlement of New Netherland.

2. Charles Gehring, PhD, New Netherland Research Center (NYS Library), and Len Tantillo, historical artist 

In “New Netherland through History and Art” Gehring and Tantillo will use works of art, digital models, diagrams, and seventeenth-century documents to explore New Netherland’s evolution from Henry Hudson to Petrus Stuyvesant.

  • 11:30 AM – Brunch (broccoli/cheese quiche, breakfast potato, fruit, beverage selection)
  • 12:30–3 PM – Presentations

1. George R. Hamell, retired State Historian at the New York State Museum 

In “Dutch Legacies in Iroquois Culture” Hamell will explore how Dutch-Seneca Iroquois-Haudenosaunee interaction persisted through the end of the eighteenth century even though the colony had long before become an English possession, and how Anglo-Dutch Indian commissioners still dominated Albany’s Indian affairs.

2. Julie Daniels, Coordinator of Educational Programs, NYS Archives and Jessica Maul, Education Consultant, NY State Archives Partnership Trust 

In “Everyday Life in a Dutch Colony: Instructional Resources for NY Classrooms” Daniels and Maul will discuss how the use of primary documents can help teachers uncover life in New Netherland.

3. Arlene Vanderlinde, Historic Brighton

Vanderlinde will discuss the development of local Dutch history curricula.

4. Peter Evans, Wayne County Historian, and Liz Albright, Ontario County Historian

Evans will present a reading from an award-winning essay about a local Dutch family that spans seven generations. (1993 winner of the Hoffman Foundation essay contest held from 1953-2003)

For tickets, click here.

All are welcome!

About the New Netherland Institute

Due to the focus on English colonization, the Dutch impact on American history was long overlooked. This changed in 1974 when the New Netherland Project was founded. For a quarter of a century this project, with its accompanying New Netherland Institute (NNI), has helped cast light on America’s long-neglected Dutch roots. The NNI has supported the transcription, translation, and publication of the 17th-century Dutch colonial records held by the New York State Library and State Archives. These records constitute the world’s largest collection of original documentation of the Dutch West India Company and its New World Colonies. They represent an irreplaceable resource for researchers exploring this important chapter in American history, its legacy of cultural traditions, and its qualities of tolerance, diversity and entrepreneurship. In 2010, the New Netherland Research Center opened to the public with support from the Dutch Consulate of the Netherlands in New York. The center provides a place where all can study the fascinating story of the Dutch global reach in the 17th century and its lasting impact on today’s world.

About the New York State Archives Partnership Trust

The New York State Archives Partnership Trust helps preserve and make accessible the archives from 350 years of New York’s colonial and state governments, so that they may be used for the benefit of the public.  The Trust adresses this mission by better informing the public about the importance of these records, by building a network of friends and advocates for the State Archives, and by obtaining increased public and private resources for work in the State Archives.

About Historic Brighton

Historic Brighton founded in 1999, is a private, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to celebrating Brighton’s rich history and bringing that history to the community through programs, publications and research. The community is welcome to join Historic Brighton and share in this mission.

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