Dutch dignitaries got a taste of Kingston Wednesday, when New York State officials hosted a delegation from the Netherlands, in a joint effort promoting local tourism from Europe.
“We’re working with the Netherlands government to develop a whole tourism trail, where people from the Netherlands can come here, start in New York [City], all the way up the Hudson River, to Albany, and discover their shared Dutch heritage here, that we share with them,” explained Michael Lynch, director of the State Office of Parks and Historic Preservation.The visitors viewed historic resources including the Hudson River Maritime Museum, where they took a river cruise aboard the replica 1614 Dutch yacht Onrust. Among those welcoming our international guests was Kingston Mayor Steven Noble.
The Dutch colony in today’s New York State was originally colonized by European settlers as New Netherlands, including the Hudson River ports of New Amsterdam (New York City), Fort Esopus (Kingston), and Fort Orange (Albany), generally between 1625 and 1664 -- after which England assumed control until the American Revolutionary War began in 1776.
“People in this country don’t know a lot about the Dutch history, and the Dutch themselves didn’t know a lot about their history on the North American continent, because most of the successful discoveries and colonies they had, were in the East Indies,” Lynch said. The long-lost Dutch-American heritage was re-discovered during the 2009 Quadri-centennial celebration of Henry Hudson’s 1609 arrival, he added.
The collaboration began in 2013, including an Albany roundtable last December. Later on Wednesday afternoon, a presentation at the Senate House in Uptown Kingston marked the 1917 Centennial of women’s suffrage for both countries.The Dutch Deputy Consular General expressed happiness over the continued interest in Dutch history among New Yorkers. “I’m amazed how many organizations there are, focusing on Holland,” said Jan Kennis, who also serves as the Cultural Attaché of the Netherlands to the United States. “Our final goal is that we make partnerships between American organizations, but also to make cooperation and partnerships between American and Dutch institutes.”
Lisa Cline, executive director of the Maritime Museum, said that Dutch replica wooden ships like the Onrust are a big draw, especially for Dutch tourists. In addition to the Onrust replica, the Half Moon replica also docks at the Maritime Museum. The Half Moon is currently making a splash in Rotterdam, across the pond, Cline noted.
Hudson Sloop Clearwater, now based alongside the museum since September 2012, qualifies as another wooden Dutch replica, Cline acknowledged. “The Clearwater is absolutely a replica of a Hudson River sloop, which are related in design to these Dutch vessels; they’re very similar to a lot of the sloops that originated in that whole area of the world,” she said. “The design is almost exactly the same.”