Henry Hudson 400
Rare Maps & Documents Exhibit
  • AMS
  • NYC
  • 13 Sep - 31 Dec
A rare maps and documents exhibit of 17th century New York at the South Street Seaport Museum in NY. Explore the roots of the early settlers and trace the development of New Amsterdam through spectacular artifacts from the Dutch National Archives(www.nationaalarchief.nl) and other collections.

 'New Amsterdam, The Island at the Center of the World'. The exhibition 

This extraordinary exhibition, which borrows its title from Russell Shorto's bestselling history, brings together some of the earliest, most important and visually exciting documents of 17th century New York from the Dutch National Archives and other public and private collections.

The highlight of the exhibition is the now-famous letter, dated November 5, 1626, from one Pieter Schaghen, listing, among other items, the purchase of Manhattan for 60 guilders (falsely converted to $24 in the 19th century). The Native Americans actually saw this transaction as a treaty for the usage of land, not a purchase.

Visitors will first pass through “The World” section, in which the global trading network of the 17th century Dutch empire is illustrated by 20 watercolors of cities and coastal views by the 17th century cartographer Johannes Vingboons. These images are all based on sailors' logs and charts. In “The Island” section of the exhibit, that focuses on Manhattan and New Amsterdam, rare documents, maps and books about the Dutch origins of New York are shown, many of which have never been exhibited in the USA before. For example, the first maps ever drawn of New Nederland, including the famous Castello plan of Manhattan, a sketch from the diary of Arnoldus Buchelius, a Dutch champion of religious freedom; the charter of the Dutch West India Company, letters concerning a safe conduct for Peter Stuyvesant and an abundance of illuminating manuscripts and commercial documents.

The exhibition will also shed light on the origins of the first New Yorkers, not only native Dutch, but those the Dutch welcomed, those seeking religious freedom –however relative, and the right to work and prosper: Jewish refugees from Brazil, freed African slaves, ambitious traders and craftsmen from the Caribbean, Germany, Morocco, Sweden and elsewhere. Among many others, we will meet the first Manhattan lawyer, the first black landowner and the first kosher butcher.


Established in 2006 in Amsterdam and in New York, the Henry Hudson 400 Foundation was organized to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson. Besides celebrating the historic event, the Foundation also wants to explore future ties between these two great cities which are linked by their shared belief in the value of free, diverse, outward-reaching societies.
Gert Tetteroo is executive Director

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