A Tour of New Netherland

Long Island

New Utrecht

In 1643, Anthony Jansen Van Salee, a half-Dutch, half-Moroccan son of a pirate, and a resident of New Amsterdam, obtained from the director-general of New Netherland a patent on a vast tract of farmland-100 morgens, or more than 200 acres-on westernmost Long Island. It ran along the shore of the Bay and stood opposite Staten Island. Most of the land remained wild until, in 1652, another pioneer, Cornelius van Werckhoven, took it over. He settled there with his family, but died three years later. At this point, his children's guardian, a man named Jacques Cortelyou, took charge of the estate. He applied to New Amsterdam for the right to divide the area into lots for a town, and he named it, in honor of his late patron's hometown in the Netherlands, New Utrecht.

The place was slow to take off, however. Four years after its settlement, the vast stretch of New Utrecht contained only four lonely homesteads. Once a palisade wall was erected, more residents came. The town was finally considered enough of a settlement to be granted municipal rights in 1661.

New Utrecht remained a remote and rather independent farming village until the late 1800's, supplying fresh produce to the metropolis of Brooklyn. Today, New Utrecht is a neighborhood within the area of Bensonhurst. One of its oldest buildings, the New Utrecht Reformed Church, at 18th Avenue and 83rd Street, which dates to 1829, is a direct descendant of the Dutch Reformed church founded here in 1677.

Read more about the birth of the Dutch towns of Brooklyn at the Long Island History website.

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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