The Netherlands and America: Sisters in Art

 Thought to be the home of the “first modern economy”, the Netherlands were experiencing a shining Golden Age by the 17th century. The nation had grown economically prosperous from its trade, dominating the lucrative trade of spices and other goods. At the same time, the Dutch were free of overt royal influence or religious dominion, allowing the development of a new ideal, a new “modern individual”: secular, middle-class, and urban.

This ideal was particularly visible in Dutch art: the rise of the businessman and middle class caused a boom in the art industry, with as many as 1,700 artists active during the Golden Age. Rather than saints or royalty, the subjects of Golden Age paintings were simply wealthier civilians, dressed smartly but not decadently, striving to be the center of the scene, but not from divine right, and often bearing some sign of the accomplishments that made them so privileged.

The artistic ideal of the modern man did not stay confined within Dutch borders. Following the exploration of Henry Hudson in 1609, the Dutch West India Company gained colonization rights and settled along the Hudson River, establishing what is today New York. With them, the Dutch traders and settlers brought their cultural ideas and artistic styles, which have since been integrated into American culture, giving rise to the similarities between American and Dutch culture present to this day.

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(American, 1768-1836) Simeon De Witt, 1804
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(Dutch, 1606–1669), Portrait of Cornelis Claesz. Anslo, 1641







Given some time to compare works of art from either culture, one will find that the themes conveyed by both are indeed quite similar. For example, portraiture in either culture will not only focus on the subject, but on the signs of (usually) his success, and the root of it in light of the modern man stereotype. The lighting makes the subject “pop” out of the background, and will having him holding (or at least standing very close to) some sign of education and worldliness.

In Rembrandt’s 1641 work, Portrait of Cornelis Claesz. Anslo, there is scarcely a background at all, and the man is holding a book while casually gesturing at more. Much later, In the 1804 American work Simeon De Witt by Ezra Ames, again the subject’s coloring contrasts just enough with the environment’s scheme to stand out, and he places his hand on a table with maps and a globe, pen in hand. These are wealthy, educated men and these artists, separated by over a century and by nationality, are elegantly showing that off in very similar ways. The artistic modern man has clearly crossed borders.

America’s Dutch roots are as relevant today as ever!

Here are some good reasons why:

  • European colonization of New Jersey started soon after the 1609 exploration of its coast and bays by Sir Henry Hudson.
  • Dutch settlement in the seventeenth century concentrated along the banks of the North River and the Upper New York Bay, though they maintained trading posts along the Delaware River as well.
  • In 1658, the last Director-General of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, “re-purchased” the entire peninsula known as Bergen Neck, and in 1661 granted a charter to the village at Bergen, establishing the oldest municipality in the state.
  • Once the English gained control of the New Netherland colony through the Treaty of Westminster, the Duke of York gifted the land between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers to two of this loyal friends, Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley of Stratton, who then changed the name of the area to New Jersey, after the English Channel Island of Jersey.
  • The Dutch Reformed Church played an important role this expansion, following the course of the Hudson River in the north to the Raritan River in the south, settlement and population grew.  
    The American Presbytery secured a charter in 1766 for Queens College (now Rutgers University), where the appointment in 1784 of John Henry Livingston as professor of theology marked the beginning of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, located on College Ave. campus.

Both of the paintings discussed in this post are housed right here at Rutgers in the Zimmerli museum! Connect with these cultural roots by seeing these Golden Age artworks for yourself, today!

The Morris Canal

By: Trevor Jurkowski, Winston Shaw, & Jonah Wasserman

What is it?

The Morris Canal is an expansive waterway system that facilitates transportation through the ingenious use of water inclined planes and locks for scaling minor disparities in elevation. Throughout the network, there are 23 planes and 23 locks – the planes can accommodate differences in elevation of up to 20 feet, and the locks up to 10 feet.

Entrance to the Morris Canal in Phillipsburg, NJ BestBudBrian via Wikimedia Foundation CC BY-SA 3.0

Originally, the canal spanned a length of 90 miles from Phillipsburg to Newark, but in 1836, an 11 mile extension was added that connected Newark and Jersey City resulting in a total length of 102.15 miles (109.26 miles if the 4.26 miles to the Pompton feeder lock, 1.76 miles to Pompton Iron Works, 0.67 miles to the Lake Hopatcong feeder, and 0.42 miles to the small/large basin in Jersey City are considered). The final dimensions of the dam after this renovation was a surface width of 40 ft, and depth of 5 ft. The canal accounts for the 760 feet difference between the low waters of Phillipsburg and the summit of Lake Hopatcong, as well as the 914 feet difference between the summit and and the mean tide at Jersey City. Hence, the canal addresses an overall 1674 feet difference between Phillipsburg and Jersey City via the implementation of waterway mechanisms such as planes and locks.

Where is it?

Morris Canal Entrance

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Morris Canal Entrance 40.678783, -75.177512
Original Canal Map Wikimedia Foundation CC BY-SA 3.0

As you can see through this map, the Canal began in Phillipsburg, NJ in Warren County, where ships from the Delaware River or the Lehigh Valley cities of Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem had easy access. From there, it travels up Warren County to Hackettstown, before it straddles the border between Sussex and Morris counties. It runs through several towns along the length of Morris county including Dover, Morristown, Rockaway, and Montville. After that, it leads into Paterson and then Newark and Jersey City, where there is easy access to the port of New York as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately, the Canal was closed in 1924, brought down by the advent of railroads and the automobile. Since then, much of the Canal has been filled in, but there are traces of it in most if not all towns through which it passed. In Trevor’s hometown of Phillipsburg, for example, he’s never seen the entrance to the old canal but there is a length of raised earth that borders a farm and a shopping plaza; Lock street was also paved on top of it.

Connections to the Dutch

Morris Canal in Paterson Wikimedia Foundation
Amsterdam Canal

These two pictures highlight what you were probably already thinking. What is more Dutch than a nice canal? Of course, there are the obvious similarities of transportation and trade but further connections abound through the passing of time. For example, what is one thing that you notice in the bottom photo that isn’t in the top photo? Cars!

Over the course of the twentieth century, cities around the globe grappled with how to accommodate the automobile into the fabric of the city. After all, many roads were made of dirt, for horse carriages, and most were not wide enough to fit two lanes. In order to make room for more cars and people, certain portions of canals were filled in and made into roads. Also, the city built public works such as parks, constructed by unemployed men who risked losing their benefits. These two aspects directly mirror development in New Jersey. Much of the state, not to mention much of the Morris Canal, was paved with highways. In fact, parts of the Parkway and Route 9 were built directly on top of the canal and part of the length from Newark to Jersey City is now covered in railroad tracks, and they were similarly constructed as part of a public works plan in the United States. As for parks, there exists a Morris Canal Foundation which strives to make a greenway park out of its existing portions. There’s also a park and nature preserve in Clifton, bordering none other than the Garden State Parkway.



Goller, Robert (1999). The Morris Canal, Across New Jersey by Water and Rail (First ed.). Arcadia Publishing.


Peter Stuyvesant’s Pear Tree

By: Liliya Bondarenko, Alfred Smajlaj, Juhee Thakkar and Paul Chamesian.



Peter Stuyvesant’s pear tree, located on 13th Street & 3rd Avenue in New York City. 

13th + 3rd

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13th + 3rd 48.216038, 16.378984


Peter Stuyvesant, the once director-general of New York City, planted this pear tree in order to be remembered by the future inhabitants of the city. The tree grew as New York City did, lasting for almost 200 years. It was fenced in. It was a tree that grew ripe fruit and often bloomed, but unfortunately died after being damaged in a car accident. It is now commemorated with a plaque in the same area that it once grew, and keeps citizens of New York in touch with their Dutch roots.











Peter Stuyvesant’s pear tree was located on the corner of 13th Street and 3rd Avenue in New York City, near where he built his home. He was the director-general of the New Netherlands colony from 1647 up to 1664, when the Dutch lost it to the British and New Amsterdam was renamed New York. After losing the colony, Stuyvesant went back to The Netherlands, and when he again returned to New York, he brought a pear tree from his farm with him. The tree flourished, and continued to live while New York grew around it, even being fenced in for protection. Unfortunately, the tree was damaged in a car accident and had to be removed. The story of Stuyvesant’s tree shows how dearly people hold the idea of their past, and demonstrates how important it is to do so. Even in the 1800s, people knew how important it was to hold on to artifacts of the past, and to make sure that even when the physical artifact is gone, something is there to remember it by. This artifact is not expressly related to the history of Rutgers, but it is important for American history in general. It is one of the few links we have to our Dutch ancestry, compared to the many ideas and objects we have connected to our British ancestry. We chose this artifact specifically for that reason – that it is expressly connected to one of the Dutch leaders who helped to colonize and shape New York City.

In September of 1890, the Holland Society of New York placed a plaque on the same corner that the tree once lived, in order to keep the memory of New York’s Dstuyvesanttreeplaqueutch ancestry alive.






In 2003, a new tree was planted in the same spot as the original, in the hopes of it lasting for the same amount of times as the previous one.

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A view of 13th and 3rd today. If you look closely you can see the plaque on the buildinthirdandthirteenthst2011g. 








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America’s First Rope-Skippers

From The Girls Own Book by Lydia Marie Child
From The Girls Own Book by Lydia Marie Child. Print

As Follows:

Two ropes are to be used, a child should hold either end in each hand, while turning them alternatively; the skipper must jump over each in every turn.

You fill find that children often compete to show superiority of skill. Whoever skips the most rope without interruption, is crowned victor.

Many, upon reading and imagining the movements of the steps in their head, will recognize this activity more commonly as “Double-Dutch”.

Its late 16th century, America receives its first organized wave of European immigrants, and the children are homesick. Longing for their country and the friends that the have left behind, the little Dutch children, in an effort to make the best of a foreign and somewhat empty neighborhood, did what they knew best during moments of boredom. Skip Rope. Centuries later, the stomping and the clapping of those children can still be heard in New Netherlands today. In the streets of what is now known as Manhattan, those young children sowed the beginnings of what will eventually become a staple in every playground in America; regardless of background, age, or income identities, children all across America will have participated in what will eventually be adopted as the game, “Double Dutch”.

But why exactly is it called, “Double Dutch”?

Surely the phrase must be the brainchild of a few middle school children wanting to ascribe rhyme and alliteration to a whimsical activity they’ve learned to enjoy very much during a typical day. But No,

A better approach to its origins would be to focus on the pieces and its parts-and acknowledge the potential of cultural undertones that may in fact be subtle reference to those immigrant children of long ago.

The modern use of the phrase “Double Dutch” in meaning to describe an odd and strange demonstration of athleticism and skill happens to fall on a connection to a very early and derogatory use of the term. ‘Double-Dutch’ was a commonly known phrase used by native Englanders as early as the 17 century. Double Dutch translates into “gibberish” or “strange talking”1. Commonly used to reference English Superiority. It found its way into common speech because of its xenophobic and prejudice overtones.

A popular understanding behind the christening of the sport comes from an exchange between and English officer and his subordinate in the early days of new Netherlands. On the streets of New Netherlands, near the Hudson to be exact, the children of Dutch immigrant would chant and rhyme in sequence while rhythmically jumping inside two ropes. Settlers could not understand neither the songs (which were in Dutch) nor the purpose of using two ropes instead of the conceivable one. It was pure lunacy2.

Snapshot of Wikipedia Webpage of Touwtjespringen
Snapshot of Wikipedia Webpage of Touwtjespringen

Under Met Meerdere personen, You’ll find lyrics to a popular children’s rhyme

In spin–/ De Bocht Gaat in,–/ Ult sput–/ De boct gaat uit

In, spider, in goes the turn/curve–/; out,–/ Out goes the turn/curve

Finding no way to explain the curious behavior, the English described the act as being “Double Dutch.” Thereby cementing the phrase in unfavorable origins and bringing the sports origins into an unspoken corner in history. As a result, Double-Dutch got its named out of unflattering definitions, but has since lost that connection to the past.

As for the children of the Netherlands, the rhymes and the rope-skipping served to reinforce their Dutch identity in a new and unfamiliar world. In this classic immigrant story, Double-Dutch grew against enmity and prejudice and into the embrace and activity of every American son and Daughter of the 20th Century.

[Edin, Janin, Jim] Via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.00
[Edin, Janin, Jim] Via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.00

Both physically engaging and easy to learn, Double-Dutch has implemented itself into American history as a staple of urban culture. Athletes and middle-schoolers alike can thank the Dutch for bringing the act of rope-skipping to the states. The sport sure has grown out of its “gibberish” label and has become more of a metaphor for unity and acceptance.

Take a moment to visit any middle or elementary school, any park or YMCA, and any clubhouse or front yard, and you will find children rhyming and skipping all across the United States. In every Neighborhood and on every summer day children of all ages would have at some point in life met with a faithful encounter with Double-Dutch.

With over hundreds of competitive and recreational Double-Dutch clubs and teams clubs and teams, it’s safe to say that We’ve openly adopted this strange and foreign activity.

So much so that grew alongside some prohibitive undertones. Openly accepted to all, but somewhat limited by a standard/conventional image of it being a child’s sport or plaything. Is there nothing to learn about the collaborative nature of the game?

Consider this scene from a popular children’s film

For one thing, this is but a taste of the energy and vibrancy one will find in many east coast double-dutch competitions. But what of the movie itself?

Many of you may remember this well-known Disney channel movie starring the then immensely popular Corbin Bleu. Our protagonist is caught in an internal struggle between feeling of duty towards his family and legacy against the thrill and allure of skipping rope. It’s a story about tolerance, love, and transforming your horizons.

Finding no way to tell both his father or his neighborhood, he practices and plays Double-Dutch in secrecy, until he finds himself in the finals of a well-advertised and competitive Double Dutch Tournament. Coincidently, his team faces none other than

The Dutch Dragons~

This is a story of someone finding their place in a society so well pronounced by its norms and prescriptions. A story many of us are likely to relate to. But this is also a story so much more than that.

It’s a film that asks us to find the value in willingly accepting another person’s culture. The reward and growth one achieves through a commitment to participating and engagement. In a community full of diversity and multiculturalism, is it ever a good idea to avert and push away. What about our community. Our Rutgers Community? Aren’t we pretty much a Double Dutch Community ourselves. One does not simply skip over two ropes alone. In order to move and push yourselves to the point of growth and milestones, we need our team players.

What Double Dutch promotes is Tolerance and Acceptance.

And is this not the cornerstone of our Rutgers Community !

Truly, this is greatest lesson we must have learned through our “low-land” counterparts.

Double Dutch

From the mockery of the game, to its overwhelming acceptance, Double Dutch is but one example of a history of shared and interwoven American and Netherlandian companionship.

And that is the heart of it.

So next time you see someone playing double-dutch- Jump In

That is the true purpose of the game!


Alexander Lopez-Perez is a Sophomore at Rutgers University. Inspired by reading stories to children and their pets, he is currently studying English and Education in the School of Arts and Sciences . A fan of Frozen Bananas.

Works Cited Continue reading “America’s First Rope-Skippers”

Adriaen van der Donck

By Chase Goodwin


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Yonkers 40.931210, -73.898747
Adriaen van der Donck

The Remonstrance was written by Adriaen van der Donck in 1649 and was published in the Hague, the Netherlands in 1650. The 49 page literature consists of 3 main parts: a description of the natives of New Netherlands and the physical features of the country; a narrative of the events first connected with the administration of public affairs from the founding up until 1651; and a remonstrance against the policy and acts of the Dutch West India Company, including the horrific behavior of governor Kieft. It’s significant in the sense that it is one of the earliest descriptions of America, including descriptions of the natives, flora, fauna and the geography. His goal was to convince the Dutch government and the Dutch merchants of the value this New World Dutch property offered. Since the colony was passed over from the Dutch government to the British in 1664 without much thought, it appears as if Van der Donck wasn’t successful in his first objective. However, he was very successful in convincing Dutch merchants of the new property’s potential; as a result of his publication of The Remonstrance, several ships of Dutch colonists left for the New Netherlands. The excitement reached a point where a Dutch West India Company director was quoted with writing, “Formerly New Netherland was never spoken of, and now heaven and earth seem to be stirred up by it and every one tries to be the first in selecting the best pieces [of land] there.”

Page from The Remonstrance
Negotiating Peace with the Native Americans

To go alongside the Remonstrance, van der Donck commissioned the Jansson-Visscher map of the colony. It showed the original Dutch territorial claim of New Netherlands ranging from just south of the Delaware Bay to New England and included drawings of wild game, typical Indian villages and the town of New Amsterdam. The map itself remained the definitive map of the area for over a century, a chief reason as to why so many Dutch names of places still exist today.

Jansson-Visscher commissioned map

Adriaen was a descendent of Van Bergen, who is famous for orchestrating the successful, Trojan-horse-style infiltration of the city of Breda, liberating the city from the Spanish Hapsburg rule. He lived from 1620 until 1655 and is regarded as one of the first true Americans, a man with more loyalty for this new country than his old. After obtaining a law degree from University of Leyden, he came to New Amsterdam to work as a schoute (loosely translated as sheriff) for Rensselaer, a wealthy businessman and landowner of Rensselaerswyck region further north along the Hudson River. Even though his law degree from one of the most prestigious schools in the world gave him so many career options, his adventurous spirit led him to work in the New World.

Eventually van der Donck’s relationship deteriorated with Rensselaer and he found himself moving lower down the Hudson River to work in the Manhattans. He played an instrumental role in ending Kieft’s horrific war that was caused by unreasonable taxes on the Native Americans. He sent a treaty to Amsterdam and convinced officials to order an end to Kieft’s war. Van der Donck greatly impacted the resulting treaty with the Native Americans since Kieft called upon his assistance and expertise to help create the document. Van der Donck was one of the most well known and influential advocates for Dutch-style republican government in the Dutch West India Company (DWIC).

As compensation for brokering peace between the Native Americans and the tyrannical Kieft, he was given a large tract of land by the DWIC. He later purchased additional nearby land, bringing his estate to a total of 23,000 acres. What is now Yonkers, NY located in northwest Bronx was once van der Donck’s land. He was addressed by the honorary title “jonkheer” because the Dutch called prospering young men who owned a lot of land that, similar to the British term “squire”. The title was typically shortened to simply “jonker.” Since the area was the Jonker’s possession, the name Yonkers was born slowly over time.

View from Yonkers Present Day

Van der Donck’s death in 1855 is shrouded in mystery. It is not known where he is buried, nor the exact cause of his premature death; however, it is believed that he was murdered by Native Americans. If this is true, how ironic of a death he had considering he devoted a huge part of his life to advocating for interests on the Native Americans’ behalf.

It is apparent Adrean van der Donck and his works are some of many examples of the Dutch influence on colonial America that can still be seen to this day. Van der Donck played a huge role in mitigating the conflict between the Dutch and the Native Americans; published a description of New Netherlands that convinced many Dutch and other Europeans to move there; owned land which eventually became known as one of the most populated cities in NY; and published the definitive map of colonial America, cementing the Dutch names of places to this very day. Most importantly, he advocated for democratic governance by getting Kieft removed from the position of governor, paving the way for this democratic theme to form the foundation of the United States of America.



Donck, Adriaen van der

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On Dutch Literature and its Presence in America

by Marina Shimarova and Soo Jeong Hwang

Section 12

The week we were in the Netherlands was Boekenweek, a week dedicated to Dutch writing. The National Book Week is put together by the Foundation Collective Propaganda for Dutch Book. Each year, CPNB foundation hosts two writers to compose an essay and a gift.

SH: I was interested in this topic because I grew up with a Dutch character named Nijntje, or Miffy. I got interested in how much the Dutch literature was present in my life and wanted to look more into the topic.

MS: Literature is something that can reach across cultures in unexpected ways. As someone who grew up between two different cultures, I didn’t find many ways that the literature of the country where I was born overlapped with the literature of the United States. I was curious to find out if there was more in common between Dutch and American folklore due to their shared history.

Rip van Winkle” was written by American author Washington Irving, Scottish-English by heritage. The tale is set in a Dutch town in Catskills, New York, where the author had not visited before he wrote the story. The story was published in Irving’s The Sketchbook 1819 – 20 and is set in the time period before and after the American Revolution. It concerns the story of a man who goes up the Catskill Mountains and meets with people who are playing ninepins who offer him a drink. van Winkle falls asleep and wakes up twenty years later. He goes back to his town and finds that his wife has passed away, his children have grown up and, that the American Revolution has taken place. The people in the town are amused by the story he tells. The Sketchbook was published in New York by C. S. van Winkle.

Catskill, NY

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Catskill, NY 42.217310, -73.864573


Irving’s tale features a Dutch main character, which shows the influence of the Dutch on American history. Furthermore, the plot of “Rip van Winkle” is similar to that of a classic European fairy tale. Its plot is based off of one of Grimm’s fairy tales. Rip van Winkle resonates with us to this day. The storyline can be found in modern popular media. Examples include “The Rip Van Winkle Caper” in The Twilight Zone and “Rip Van Flintstone” in The Flintstones.

The flying Dutchman is a well known character in American folklore. According to the legend, the Dutchman, supposedly named Vanderdecken, was the captain of a ship trying to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. In the gale of a forceful storm, the captain refused the pleas of his crew and passengers to turn around to safety. Then, a ghostly figure appeared on board the ship, and condemned the captain to forever haunt the seas with a ghostly ship, as a punishment for his reckless behavior. Contrary to the name, the legend of the flying Dutchman originated in England, not the Netherlands. It was based on a 17th century Dutch sailor named Bernard Fokke, who was known for being able to travel from the Netherlands to Java with incredible speed.

Untitled presentation (1)   

[The Flying Dutchman by Howard Pyle]

The Sandman, named Klaas Vaak in Dutch literature, is the basis for the American comic book series by Neil Gaiman. The character of the Sandman also appears in American films such as Dreamworks’ “Rise of the Guardians” and songs like “Enter Sandman” by the band Metallica.

In the literature of the Netherlands and other Northern and Central European countries, the Sandman is a man who sprinkles dust and sand in the eyes of children to make them go to sleep.

Untitled presentation (2)

[Cover of the Sandman comic books series]

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[Klaas Vaak]

Anne Frank’s diary was published as Het Achterhuis (The Secret Annex) in the Netherlands on June 25th, 1947. The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam became a museum in 1960 and Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was involved with the House and campaigned for human rights and respect until he died. It is read across the world today, including the U.S. as we educate people about World War II and the Holocaust. The resounding effects of honesty and human nature found in Anne’s diary is loved and respected by many people over the world.

Untitled presentation (4)

[The first edition of Anne’s diary]


Pierre M. Irving, The Life and Letters of Washington Irving, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1883, vol. 2, p. 176

Wright, Charlton, “The Phantom Ship; or, The Flying Dutchman,” Tales of the Horrible; or, The Book of Spirits (London: Charlton Wright, 1837), pp. 49-56.

Minnaard, Liesbeth (2009). New Germans, New Dutch: Literary Interventions. Amsterdam UP. p. 253. ISBN 9789089640284. Retrieved 10 April 2016.

Gaiman, Neil (w). “The Origin of the Comic You Are Now Holding (What It Is and How It Came to Be” Sandman 4 (April 1989)

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Kirkpatrick Chapel

Kirkpatrick Chapel


Honors Colloquium Spring 2016, Section 11

Dutch Influence At Rutgers & Beyond; As Seen Through Kirkpatrick Chapel

By: Harry Buscher, Jaffer Hashmi, and Matthew Peyrek

Kirkpatrick Chapel is one of Rutgers University’s more famous landmarks. It is located on the College Avenue campus within the Old Queens complex of the university. It was designed and built by the famous architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed Geology Hall. It was built to honor the memory of Sophia Astley Kirkpatrick, a wife of a trustee of Rutgers College, whose donation funded the construction in 1873.

Designed by a Dutch architect who, using Dutch influence as inspiration, went on to design and build National Historic Landmarks such as the Dakota building in New York City or, more famously, The Plaza Hotel.

Kirkpatrick Chapel, having been built at Rutgers College and whose construction was funded in memory of the wife of a Rutgers trustee, was originally designed to serve as a chapel and to house the college’s library. However, with the construction of Voorhees Hall the library was moved and the chapel became less used for worship and moved as a place for academic programs and other special lectures. Later in its life, Kirkpatrick Chapel was expanded in 1916 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the college.

We chose this object for multiple reasons. We took a walking tour of Queens College with our Colloquium group and one of the stops was Kirkpatrick Chapel. We were fascinated by the church and decided to explore its history a little more in depth. We were delighted to find that it had Dutch roots and eagerly began the process to get Kirkpatrick Chapel approved as our artifact.

Today, Kirkpatrick Chapel is home of the university’s most advanced choir-Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir. It is used by the Mason Gross School of the Arts as a performance venue and is a very desired location to hold weddings and other ceremonies. Across the yard at Old Queens, adjacent to both Kirkpatrick Chapel, stand is the Class of 1877 Cannon where as a graduation tradition, seniors break clay pipes over the cannon as the Henry Rutgers Bell rings.

Kirkpatrick Chapel, while not Dutch in design, stands firm as a beacon and symbol of the Dutch influence at Rutgers and beyond. Its famous architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh went on to design many famous National Historic Landmarks and his great-great grandfather, Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh served as the first President of Queen’s College, now Rutgers University.

The history and traditions of Queen’s College are represented by Kirkpatrick Chapel. Kirkpatrick Chapel stands as one of the oldest buildings at Rutgers and in the entire city of New Brunswick-A testament to the Dutch and their influence at Rutgers University and Beyond. Kirkpatrick stands with Rutgers, Revolutionary for 250 years.

Kirkpatrick Chapel

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Kirkpatrick Chapel 40.498861, -74.445830



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The Wyckoff House

by Chris Lind, Luke Edwards, & Rebecca Kang

Section 10

Lombardi via openhousenewyork CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Wyckoff House was built in 1652, and it is the oldest surviving example of a Dutch saltbox frame house in the New World. It was originally constructed as a single room, one level home. The original flooring was packed Earth, and the windows of the house were unglazed glass. Two doors are positioned on either end of the house, with a large hearth situated in the middle. In the 18th century, a kitchen was attached to the exterior of the house. In total, the restructuring of the house led to six total rooms. The property currently sits on 1.5 acres of land.

Wyckoff House

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Wyckoff House 40.644350, -73.920777

The Wyckoff House is located in Milton Fidler Park in Brooklyn. Pieter Claesen, who later changed his last name to Wyckoff, is believed to have lived just north of New Amsterdam, and moved south of the city in the 1650s along with many other farmers. During that time, land was being sold to individuals completely independent of large patroonships that were present up north. The Wyckoff family seems to have followed suit with this trend. Pieter Claesen was ultimately responsible for constructing the Wyckoff house. Originally, Pieter was brought to America by Symon Walichsz as an indentured servant on the Rensselaerswyck property. Our artifact tells many stories about the Dutch in America. Primarily, it demonstrates the Dutch view of maintaining family and a family home. The Wyckoff family stayed in the home for eight generations from 1652 until 1901. The Wyckoff House also tells the story of farmers moving south to Dutch owned New Amsterdam. Pieter was one of many farmers to move off the land owned by the Van Rensselaer family and buy land from the Dutch government. The house also tells the story of Dutch architecture. It is a classic Dutch saltbox frame house, complete with the traditional shingled walls and eaves found in Dutch architecture. Ultimately, we picked this artifact because it is a historically significant place in the New World and has deep connections to the Dutch in America. The story of the oldest building in New York City reveals a lot about the Dutch in America, and our group found that connection worth investigating.

Works Cited

“History.” The Wyckoff House. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“Fidler-Wyckoff House Park.” : NYC Parks. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

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Dutch Slave Laws in 1644

by Mollie Baruch, Rohit Purma, Tristan Rosengart, Ed Zaleck

Section 05

This object is a legal code. It does not physically exist but it has a powerful presence in the Dutch legal code and American history. The law, implemented by the West India Company in 1644, said that the children of free black adults were obligated to work the WIC themselves. The parents would baptize their children in the hopes that the WIC would not turn Christian children into slaves. However, in the mid 1650s, the Dutch clergy stopped baptizing slave children and there was a rigid distinction between slave religion and white religion.



Author: Unknown, 1741 Slave Revolt burned at the Stake NYC, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, Source: Suppressed Histories


The 1644 legal code is located within the colonies of the Dutch.  It is located there because there was an already rigid legal system of racial bondage pertaining to African laborers. The law had jurisdiction within all the Dutch territories in 1644.  The law was in effect in 1644.  The West India Company aided to the implementation of the law.  The story tells of parents of many African American infants had their children baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church in hopes of securing their freedom.  Though direct connection is weak to the History of Rutgers, this law proved the value of religion in early colonial Dutch society. Queens College was established around the same ideals, as it was a secular institution that intended to “educate the youth in the divinity” and train future ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church.

We picked this object because we think it focuses on the small part of Dutch society that felt that slavery was wrong. The general feelings towards slavery at the time only supported and promoted the unjust system that was already in place. People did not want to get rid of their slaves – they worked as free labor and are largely the reason for a country’s success at the time. So the fact that the Dutch put this law in place, damaging their economy and high status at the time, shows that there was some level of concern that the institution of  slavery was wrong.

As a nation, we are still working to extinguish the pain and suffering that was caused through decades of cruel, unjust and horrifying acts of slavery. This law from 1644 states that children of free adults could be free as well if they were baptized, after a period of time spent in slavery. Though still terrifying, it was a small step towards racial tolerance and peace. In our world today, many people are still working to break down the racial hatred that exists under the surface in our society. The fight today echos what this law of 1644 stood for – a chance for the creation of a more equal world.  Here is an interesting scholarly perspective of the law: “As Goodfriend notes, this was hardly the end of black efforts to reverse their fortunes in the colony. English rule in New York saw religious tolerance gaining traction for some sects, but the slave regime and the types of resistance grew dramatically more confrontational toward one another.”


A short bibliography of primary or secondary sources connected to the story your object tells (Limit yourself to no more than five key sources)

  1. David Gellman. Review of Rosenblatt, Albert M.; Rosenblatt, Julia C., eds., Opening Statements: Law, Jurisprudence, and the Legacy of Dutch New York. H-Law, H-Net Reviews. January, 2014.
  2. “Slavery in New York.” Slavery in New York. N-YHS, 7 Oct. 2007. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Goodfriend, Joyce D. “Black Families Black Families.” (2007): n. pag. University of Denver. New Netherland Institute. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.

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Tons of Tulips (from Turkey?!)


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Tulips 40.483521, -74.457354

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By: Paige Tetens, Monika Juzwiak, and Morgan McCabe (Discussion Section 12)

Physical Description

Tulips are flowers that grow from bulbs and bloom in the spring. The flower consists of two types of tepals (the outer parts of the flower – sepals and petals), sometimes varying in color.

Typically brightly colored, the tepals may have different colored blotches at the base. Most common colors found in tulips are red, yellow, pink and white.


The tulip flower has a marked presence on Livingston Campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Planted in early spring by the gardeners of Rutgers University, these flowers are a signal to the residents and passing students of this campus that the end of the academic year is drawing close. These flowers can be seen in large, organized clusters mainly outdoors in cement planters. The organization and uniformity of these arrangements is a testament to the stereotypically Dutch view on cleanliness and order. After the conversion to Protestantism, the Dutch were known to be an extraordinarily tidy people due to what was known as the “protestant work ethic”, where success and godliness were sought through diligent work. When the Dutch colonized the New World, they brought their views on order and the value of hard work with them–an influence which lingered.

Our interest in the tulip stemmed from our visit to the Amsterdam Flower Market where the sheer volume and diversity of tulips left quite an impression on us.

While tulips now grow in many different places around the world, they are primarily a symbol of Dutch culture. They are actually originally from Turkey and Persia! They were introduced to Europe by an Ottoman ambassador towards the end of the 16th century. The Netherlands marks 1594 as the date of the first flowering tulips in the country. Mere decades later, The Netherlands was struck by Tulipmania, where the demand for tulips was so high, you could trade things a complete bed, two tons of butter, or 1,000 pounds of cheese for a single bulb. In a rather interesting anecdote, a sailor was arrested for mistaking a valuable tulip bulb for a raw onion and consuming it. Now, tulips are rather common and The Netherlands produces about 3 billion bulbs a year. Chances are, if you see a tulip outside, it’s Dutch.
Today, one can buy tulip flowers with relative ease. However, since these are rarely bought for oneself, it is important to consider the symbolic significance of the plant’s color. Red, for example, signifies the “fire of love” that is felt by the giver for the recipient, whereas white can be used apologetically.


Upchurch, Michael. “How A Turkish Blossom Enflamed the Dutch Landscape.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Mar. 2001. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Christenhusz, Maarten J. M., et al. “Tiptoe Through The Tulips – Cultural History, Molecular Phylogenetics And Classification Of Tulipa ( Liliaceae).” Botanical Journal Of The Linnean Society 172.3 (2013): 280-328. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Curtis, Diana. “Plath’s TULIPS.” Explicator 64.3 (2006): 184-186. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“Mackay, Charles, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds: Library of Economics and Liberty.” Mackay, Charles, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds: Library of Economics and Liberty. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

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