Recommended Reading on New Netherland

These recommended books paint 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 and a first-hand account of what the Dutch discovered in this "beautiful and fruitful land." 


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

If you would like to purchase a copy of this title, please contact the New Netherland Institute at  


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.


Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1586-1643)
Designing a New World by Janny Venema

A biography from the Associate Director of the New Netherland Research Center about the visionary Amsterdam merchant. Van Rensselaer was a driving force behind the patroonship system and founded the only successful example, Rensselaerswijck.



The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan
A Novel of New Amsterdam by Bill Greer

"[A] romp through the history of New Netherland that would surely have Petrus Stuyvesant complaining about the riot transpiring between its pages ... Readers are guaranteed a genuine adventure that will evoke the full range of human emotions. Once begun, they can expect to experience that rare difficulty in putting down a book before they have finished."

- de Halve Maen, Journal of the Holland Society of New York, Summer 2009


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.


The Edge of New Netherland
by Len Tantillo

In the 17th century, the Dutch & Swedes vied for supremacy on the Delaware River. Artist Len Tantillo recreates the drama of this time, examining the fur trade and reconstructing the fort the two countries swapped with one another. The book is filled with the color illustrations for which Len is renowned and includes a historical overview of the Dutch on the Delaware by Dr. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Research Center.

A Journey into Mohawk Country and Oneida Country, 1634-1635
by Harmen van den Bogaert, edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Stern

In 1634, the Dutch West India Company was anxious to know why the fur trade from New Netherland had been declining, so the company sent three employees far into Iroquois country to investigate. Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert led the expedition from Fort Orange (present-day Albany, NY). His is the earliest known description of the interior of what is today New York State and its seventeenth-century native inhabitants. 


Recommended Reading on the Little Ice Age

The Dutch Republic experienced its so-called Golden Age from the 16th Century through the 18th Century, during an extended period of variable climate that often included colder temperatures and severe weather events. Although the Dutch Republic itself thrived during this "Little Ice Age," the Amsterdam-based Dutch West India Company struggled to establish and maintain its New World colony of New Netherland between 1624 and 1664.

For more books, view our list of recommended texts on New Netherland, Dutch influence and culture in America and Colonial America in general.

For a comprehensive list of book, articles, and primary sources on New Netherland, view the New Netherland Bibliography.


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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