New Netherland Seminar

The Dutch Revolt and New Netherland

I wrote a guest post for the Junto Blog that provides a recap of the 36th Annual New Netherland Seminar.

New NetherlandThe Dutch Revolt and New Netherland

As my book project explores the cultural legacy of New Netherlanders who lived in Albany, NY, I attended the 36th Annual New Netherland Seminar on Saturday, October 5 at the New-York Historical Society. I admit that I attended the conference as an interloper; I study the revolutionary and early republic periods.

Sponsored by the New Netherland Institute (NNI), the New Netherland Seminar is the only conference dedicated to the study of the former Dutch colony.[1] The seminar convenes in a different location each year, but always within the bounds of New Netherland. The NNI organizes each seminar around a theme. This year, it selected “The Dutch Revolt and New Netherland” in an effort to explore the contributions Flemish and Walloon migrants made to New Netherland.[2] To this end, the NNI invited Guido Marnef, Kees Zandvliet, Maarten Prak, Wim Vanraes, and David Baeckelandt to discuss the Revolt and how and why the event led Flemish and Walloon migrants to participate in the Dutch colonization of North America.

The Dutch Revolt began in 1568 when the Low Countries revolted against the Habsburg Empire that ruled them. The struggle lasted 80 years and centered on political and religious issues. The Revolt ended in 1648, when the Protestant-dominated northern Netherlands (present-day Netherlands) achieved independence; the Southern or Spanish Netherlands (present-day Belgium) remained part of the Habsburg Empire.

Continue Reading


New Netherland Seminar: Emerging Scholars Roundtable

In July, the New Netherland Institute invited me to participate in its new Emerging Scholars Roundtable. The roundtable will foster interaction between graduate students, junior scholars, and established scholars. I jumped at the opportunity to participate because my dissertation-to-book revision project extends my period of study backward to 1615. As a scholar of Revolutionary and Early National America, I need all the advice I can get about New Netherland.

Emerging Scholars Roundtable

The Roundtable will take place on October 4, the day before the Annual New Netherland Seminar (October 5). Ruth Piwonka, Jaap Jacobs, Firth Fabend, David W. Voorhees, Janny Venema, Charles Gehring, and Walter Prevenier will serve as the panel of established scholars.

The emerging scholars submitted 5-7-page project descriptions to the roundtable participants. The descriptions outline each emerging scholar’s area of research and the conceptual and/or research problems they face.


GezichtOpNieuwAmsterdamMy Proposal

What did I put in my proposal?

I asked the established scholars for assistance with the first chapter of my book.

In my first chapter, I will discuss the characteristics of the New World Dutch identity created by the people of Beverwyck (Albany, pre-1664). Roughly 51% of the colonists in New Netherland were born in the Netherlands, the remaining 49% came from all over Europe. Many scholars use “Dutch” to describe the 7,000-8,000 colonists who settled in New Netherland. I have never been comfortable with that.

New Netherlanders were Dutch in the sense that they lived under Dutch authority, but culturally they comprised something different. Wherever they settled, New Netherlanders created community identities that allowed them to avoid cultural disputes. In the case of those who settled in Beverwyck, the colonists developed highly adaptable self-understandings that allowed its diverse population to live and trade with each other and the Native American peoples who lived around them.

The secondary-source literature states that Dutch culture inalterably changed the cultures of Native Americans and non-Dutch colonists. Dutch culture profoundly influenced the self-understandings of the people of Beverwyck. However, the culture of Native Americans and non-Dutch colonists also inalterably changed the culture of the Dutch colonists. The secondary-source literature does not discuss these cultural contributions.


Netherlands-CrestMy Book

In my book, I would like to mention how Native Americans and non-Dutch colonists affected the creation of New World Dutch cultures. Admittedly, this topic deserves more than a mention and could fill many dissertations and books.

I hope to gain ideas from the scholars on the roundtable about the cultural contributions Native Americans and non-Dutch colonists made to New World Dutch cultures.

Understanding these contributions is crucial because New Netherlanders handed down a flexible culture that informed how the people of Albany adapted old self-understandings to create new self-understandings as New Yorkers, Britons, and citizens of the United States.