Books for Young Adults

Here are five books that paint you a portrait of New Netherland, from a nutshell history you can finish in a sitting or two to a riotous romp of a novel that carries you through 40 years on the Hudson. In between is a bestselling history that captures all the conflict and drama of the place, a first-hand account of what the Dutch discovered in this "beautiful and fruitful land," and a graphic novel taking you on an adventure to the Mohawks in 1634. (Titles link to the NNI Shop if the book is available there, otherwise to Amazon.)


New Netherland in a Nutshell
A concise illustrated history of the Dutch colony by Firth Haring Fabend that you can finish in a sitting or two.

"For anyone seeking to answer the question, 'What was New Netherland?' this little volume is a handy, richly packed resource. It gives you the background, the actors, the action, and the legacy. In clear prose, it covers a lot of history in a few pages."

- Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World


The Island at the Center of the World
The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America

Russell Shorto's bestselling history packs a wallop of a story, moving from the halls of power in London and The Hague to bloody naval encounters on the high seas to the uncharted wilderness Manhattan once was. You'll meet philosophers and kings, smugglers and fallen women, merchants and surgeons, along with a pegleg general locked in a bitter struggle with a forgotten American hero.


A Description of New Netherland
by Adriaen van der Donck; edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna

Van der Donck's first-hand account is as close as you can come to seeing New Netherland through the eyes of an original settler. Arriving in 1641 as the schout of Rensselaerswijck, he subsequently moved to Manhattan and locked horns with Peter Stuyvesant - he's the forgotten hero referred to above. One of his most valuable acts was to pen this Description of the natural world and the native inhabitants he encountered in his new home. "One of America's oldest literary treasures," historian Thomas O'Donnell called the work.


Journey into Mohawk Country
by Harmen van den Bogaert and George O'Connor

At age 23 in the dead of winter, Harmen van den Bogaert traveled into Mohawk country with two companions. The year was 1634. George O'Connor retells the adventure in a graphic novel combining vibrant images with van den Bogaert's own words. A groundbreaking effort that earns praise as a comics adaptation and a work of history.


The Edge of New Netherland
by Len Tantillo

Want to know how the Dutch built forts?  How the Indians trapped beaver?  How the Dutch bartered axes, guns and wampum for furs?  Learn on this illustrated journey to the Delaware with artist Len Tantillo.  Watch Len use 3D-modeling to re-create a wilderness fortress.


About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


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By supporting NNI you help increase awareness of the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland and its legacy in America.