The birth of New Netherland

Or: What happened before the birth of the City and the State of New York

Independent Dutch mariners and merchants have played a much more important role in the history of the birth of New Netherland (and the City and State of New York) than the current history books tell.
On this website, a corner of the veil that is hanging over that “other story” is lifted. Welcome!

Fort Nassau

The first European settlement in the Hudson Valley

In 1614, in an effort to streamline the trade established with native tribes in the region, the Dutch merchants build a trading post, Fort Nassau, on Castle Island in the Mauritius River (later renamed the Hudson River). With this Fort, New Netherland was born.

The ship The Unrest

The first ship built in New Netherland

When his ship de Tyger (The Tiger) went up in flames, Captain and merchant Adriean Block built a new ship on the spot: the Unrest. A replica of the ship was launched in the Mohawk River, a tributary of the Hudson River, on the 20th of May 2009.

Merchants and Indians

Trade and brotherhood

Good relationships lead to good business and friendship. In contrast to the French and English, the Dutch traders based their relations with the native tribes on trade, a pragmatic approach. This eventually lead to deeper relations between native tribes who, up to that point till, were trying to kill one another.

The Province of New Netherland

The Dutch West-Indies Company is in control

In 1624 the region that today we know as New York State, is officially recognized as a Dutch colony.
The building of Fort Nieuw Amsterdam a year later, in 1625 is generally recognized as the year New York City was born.

In the current history of the origin of New Netherlands, New Amsterdam, and New York, Henry Hudson gets a lot of credit, but has he actually earned so much credit? Should the Dutch mariners and merchants, as well as the native North American peoples, not be given equal credit? Is it appropriate that 1625 is generally regarded as the year of birth of the city of New York?
Would 1614 not be more accurate? Read the story and watch the movies on this site, and maybe you too will come to conclude, as Hubert de Leeuw has, that in the history of New Netherland, and so New York, many connections still can be made.

Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company with the ship the Half Moon, ‘discovers’ the still relatively unknown Muhheakantuck River in northeast America that would later be named after him.

Merchants unite and form the New Netherland Company; The beginning of New Netherland as a separate territory by license of the Dutch States General; Fort Nassau is built.

New Netherland becomes an official Dutch colony and province, under the auspices of the West India Company, established in 1621; Arrival of the first colonists.

The English claim the region, discovered by an Englishman, Hudson, as their territory. Under threat of war, Peter Stuyvesant is forced to hand New Netherland over to the English.

Click here for a more elaborate chronological list.

The Story of the Becoming of New Netherland, New York. (BNN)

In September 1609, the Englishman Henry Hudson sails up a North-American river known to the native tribes as the Muhheakantuck, ‘the river that flows both ways,’ in the ship the Half Moon. Hudson was sailing for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to search for the northeastern passage to Asia.

Along the voyage, impenetrable ice near Nova Zembla makes him realize this mission cannot succeed. Rather than returning to Holland empty handed, he decides to sail to the west, to investigate what is true of the rumors of a passage through North America to the Pacific Ocean. Read more

About this initiative

Traditionally, the history of New Netherland was written (by Anglo-Americans, the English, and the Dutch) with the starting point set at the coincidental discovery, in 1609, of the river and valley that would, in 1664, be named after the English explorer, Henry Hudson. History books then jump to 1624 when the region, under the auspices of the West India Company, becomes a new province of the Dutch Republic.

The fifteen years in between are written-off as being insignificant and violent. Termed ‘a bloody and throat cutting period of trade without scruples’; of Dutch merchants and the dangerous native savages (the North American Indians), fighting each other. But, is that accurate?

Read more

Video 1 | Introduction to the project by Hubert de Leeuw   Video 2 | Hubert de Leeuw about the significant role of the free Dutch merchants

Video 3 | Word of Thanks by the Dutch Consul General in New York, Rob de Vos   Video 4 | Impression of the Two Row Commemoration in 2013

ytg+For an overview of our movies look at our Youtube channel or Google+ page


About Hubert de Leeuw

In the early 1990s, Hubert de Leeuw (Tilburg, 1961), entrepreneur from the Low Countries, begins to research the history of the origin of New Netherland, the region on the east coast of North America, which today is known as New York State. During that time de Leeuw is in Seattle on business – he is going to introduce the five-gallon water cooler system used in the North America to the Netherlands – and makes a trip to Vancouver, just over the border in Canada.

At a rather curious meeting of, who de Leeuw refers to as, ‘spiritual people’, he is introduced to the word ‘Algonquin’. Almost immediately, de Leeuw’s curiosity overcomes his skepticism and, back in Seattle he visits the library to find the meaning of the word. ‘Algonquin’ appears to be the name of an Indian tribe directly linked to New Netherland, Fort Nassau, Hendrick Christiaensen, and other Dutch merchants. In regard to that moment, de Leeuw states: “Something happened within me. I just knew I had to do something with it.” And that is what happens.

Read more


Under the title, “Coming to Terms with Early New Netherland – New York History”, Hubert de Leeuw, in collaboration with Timothy Paulson, has issued a trio of English language books on the origins of New Netherland.
Dutch versions are in the works, as well as three other books about, amongst other topics, the original 16th- and early 17th-century text of the primary sources about the history of New Netherlands (and New York) transcribed in the Dutch language used at that time. These will be released in the autumn.
These titles are all available for download. Each of the English-language books, free of charge, in PDF format, or order them as an e-book, or as a printed and bound book with the links listed below.


By researching, among others, primary sources, Paulson and De Leeuw show in 1610 – 1614 how in four short years the Dutch mariners and traders in the Hudson Valley laid a base for what, in 1624, would become the colony New Netherland.

eBook (through Gumroad): $ 4.95

eBook (through Amazon): $ 4.95

Paperback (through TheBookPatch): $ 4.95 (incl. shipping costs/handling)

Paperback (via Amazon): $4.95

1609, Henry Hudson Revisited

In 1609, Henry Hudson Revisited the credit given to this English explorer for being the ‘first one’ to discover the valley of the Muhheakantuck River is questioned. Today Hudson is honored like a hero, but is that praise deserved?

eBook (through Gumroad):  $ 4,95

eBook (through Amazon):  $ 4,95

Paperback (through TheBookPatch): $ 4.95 (incl. shipping costs/handling)

Paperback (through Amazon): $ 4,95

Commemoration of the Two Hundreth Anniversary by the New York Historical Society   A re-print of the surprisingly pro-Dutch commemoration speech given by the American historian J.R. Brodhead in 1864 to the New York Historical Society about the seizure of New Netherland by England in 1664. eBook (through Gumroad):  $ 4,95 Order

eBook (through Amazon):  $ 4,95 Order

Paperback (through theBookPatch): $ 4.95 (incl. shipping costs/handling) Order

Paperback (through Amazon): $ 4.95 (incl. shipping costs/handling) <Order

Future Releases

Coming to Terms with Early New Netherland – New York History:
The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company

Broken Chain
How the White and Indian Worlds Remembered Henry Hudson and the Dutch

Dutch primary Sources – Vol. I
About New Netherland, New York beginnings – 1609-1624

Dutch primary Sources – Vol. II
About New Netherland, New York beginnings – 1609-1624

A Movie Script About the Early History of New Netherland & New York During the Period 1609-1624
The River that Flows Both Ways

Honor Where Honor is Due
New insights and new truths about the origin of New Netherland, New Amsterdam, and New York
Part I: 1609-1614

Van Meteren’s Virginia 1607-1612
By John Parker

Honor Where Honor is Due

New insights and new truths about the beginnings of New Netherland, New Amsterdam and New York

In May of this year, the historical pamphlet Honor Where Honor is Due will be published. In this document, a new vision of the origins of New Netherland, New York, and the unique Dutch-American relationship are presented. Honor Where Honor is Due is the first part of a two-part series and focuses on the period 1609-1614, when free Dutch mariners and traders laid the foundations for what would eventually be the city and state of New York. The pamphlet notes Henry Hudson’s famous 1609 journey in The Half Moon to the east coast of the New World. Part Two details the period of 1615-1624. This brochure provides a preview of the Part One of Honor Where Honor is Due. If, after reading, you discover you would like to know more, please add your email to our mailing list and we will send updates on the official release dates. You can access the preview by clicking here to download the PDF.


ONN has, after thorough study, developed a vision of the history of New Netherlands and New York that is more detailed and nuanced than the existing history. ONN, however, does not claim to have a monopoly on the truth. The motive is ”truth” and ”honor to whom honor is due.” Nothing more, nothing less. We strive to find, through dialogue and constructive discussions, the truth – even if there are multiple versions of the historical perspectives of this specific time in history. ONN is pleased to invite you to contribute to the blog.

We ask each participant to make constructive contributions and to abide by the moral and ethical code of good dialogue and discussion on the matter. By registering, you agree to adhere to that code. ONN reserves the right to remove contributions that do not respect these conditions. You can specify that you want to be kept informed of responses to general or specific subjects on the ONN blog. Want to learn more about New Netherlands? Click here (external website).

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This website is regularly updated with new information: detailed arguments supporting ONN’s vision of the history of New Netherlands, and more findings from its twenty years of research. If you would like to be kept informed about these updates, please subscribe to the mailing list. We will periodically send you a short email with links to the new parts on the site. Please fill in your email address and enter the correct answer to the sum (to verify that you are human and not a machine). You may give more information about yourself if you wish, but it is not mandatory.

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Site design: Eekelaar strategische vormgeving Site building: Gilaworks internet- en videoservices Editors: Hubert de Leeuw, Beewee Nederkoorn Translation: Eric Ruijssenaers
Video 1 en 2: Gilaworks internet- en videoservices Video 3 en 4: NNC inc NY / Video for a change Albany NY
Owner: NNC Inc. (New Netherland Company Inc.) Albany NY
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