The history of New Netherland is as much the history of America’s colonization and settlement as that of the Virginia and Massachusetts Bay colonies. Under Dutch rule, a distinctive culture of diversity, entrepreneurship, religious tolerance, and global engagement emerged in the region that is now New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. These classroom tools and professional development opportunities are designed to help educators teach a topic too often overlooked.

From the New Netherland Institute and the New Netherland Research Center.



Teacher Workshops

In 2012 the New Netherland Institute and the New Netherland Research Center kicked off a professional development initiative for teachers with a summer institute exploring the Dutch colonization of North America. Beginning in August of 2015, NNI offered a 3-part teacher workshop that aimed to give teachers of fourth and seventh grades a thorough grounding in the history of New Netherland and best practices for teaching it to students.



Lesson Plans

Educators who participated in the 2012 summer institute developed these standards-based model lessons using New Netherland documents, artifacts, and images. Lessons on the fur trade, Dutch-Indian diplomacy, global trade, and the conflict between the West India Company and the patroonship of Rensselaerswijck are currently available on this website.



Consider the Source

The New Netherland Institute is funding a New Netherland module for “Consider the Source,” an online resource for educators by the New York State Archives. This new resource will help teachers incorporate primary sources, such as historic maps, artifacts, paintings, and translated letters, into customizable lesson plans. The “Consider the Source” website is scheduled for release at an undetermined future date. 


What Was New Netherland?

Travel back in time to the early 1600s and see what life in New Netherland was like—where European settlers lived, what food they ate, what games their children played—in this introduction to the people and places of Dutch North America designed for elementary and middle school students. Also see these classroom-tested questions designed to improve reading comprehension and to prompt analysis of What Was New Netherland.

More Classroom Materials Online

Downloadable Lesson Plans from the New Amsterdam History Center
The NAHC offers free lesson plans for the 4th, 7th and 11th grades; each lesson explores a different aspect of New Amsterdam history.

New Netherland Museum and Half Moon
In addition to taking students on a replica of Henry Hudson's ship, the Half Moon, the New Netherland Museum offers 4th and 7th grade curriculum guides for purchase.

The New York State Archives' "Throughout the Ages"
This visual education resource for P-6 educators uses historical records as learning tools. The Build Your Own Worksheet tool allows teachers to customize worksheets while creating their own lessons around historic documents, maps, and images.

About the New Netherland Institute

For a quarter century 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. Directed by Dr. Charles Gehring. More


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