The first Rensselaerswijck Seminar was held by the New Netherland Project in 1979. The Project was five years old, and without secure funding was imperiled by sporadic support and low visibility. It needed to go public. The seminar was one way to spread the word about its work and about New Netherland in general.

More than three decades later, the New Netherland Project has transformed into the New Netherland Research Center. In 2015 the NNRC and the New Netherland Institute held the 38th annual event, now renamed the New Netherland Institute Annual Conference. 

Each conference centers around a common theme. Recent examples include “The Dutch on the Delaware: New Netherland’s South River,” “The Company Strikes Back: 1673 Recovery of New Netherland, ” and the most recent conference in 2015, "The Dutch in America Across the Centuries: Connections and Comparisons." Over one to two days, speakers from the United States and abroad present papers on aspects of that year’s theme. Dr. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Research Center (and formerly of the New Netherland Project) moderates the event. The New Netherland Dinner and frequently a field trip to explore local historic sites accompany the conference. 

Albany has been the most common location, with occasional visits to other locales. The 2011 conference was held in Delaware and focused on the Dutch experience in that area. The 2012 event was held at the Mabee Farm in Schenectady, NY. The New-York Historical Society in Manhattan hosted the 2013 conference. 


Explore past events

Papers from the first ten conferences, 1979–1987, were published as "A Beautiful and Fruitful Place," Volume 1, and are available online.


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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