USA: New York celebrates first ever New Amsterdam Cultural Heritage Day
On 8 April 2019 New York now celebrates the historic ties with Amsterdam on New Amsterdam Cultural Heritage Day.
"On 8 April 2019 New York now celebrates 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 with 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 8 April, the latest addition to the New Amsterdam Stories – inquiries into New Amsterdam’s ‘burgher right’ (established in April 1657 and modelled after city citizenship in Amsterdam) – was presented by Dr. Dennis Maika, Senior Historian at the New Netherland Institute. Finally, Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, received the mayoral message. Mayor Halsema stated that “Our city really is greatly honoured. Of course, Amsterdam will do everything it can to make this new annual celebration a lasting success.”
To commemorate the occasion, selected historical documents that highlight the link between Amsterdam and New Amsterdam, from the New York City Municipal Archives, its counterpart, the Stadsarchief Amsterdam, and the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. 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 came with those rights.
New Amsterdam Stories
The Municipal Archives and the Stadsarchief Amsterdam have been digitising and making 17th century documents available that are 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.