New Netherland Institute
The 17th-century was a significant period of imperialism for many European countries. One of the countries which engaged in imperialism was the Netherlands, which colonized present-day New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in 1624. The Dutch West India Company established the colony of New Netherland and would go on to surrender it to the English in 1664. During the 40-year period of Dutch control, the colony experienced “a culture of diversity, entrepreneurship, religious tolerance, and global engagement.” The New Netherland Institute was established in 1974 by the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York in an effort to make translated documentary evidence from the Dutch colony available to scholars. The Institute offers a variety of educational resources and their website also features several online exhibits. Due to New Netherland’s intersection across several themes such as globalism, Indigenous contact, enslavement history, transatlantic trade, imperialism, religion, it may be a useful case study for educators wishing to teach students about 17th-century European imperialism.
Though their link to downloadable lesson plans is now defunct, the Institute also offers teacher resources like What Was New Netherland? which offers a number of questions for teachers to ask students and background information on each. This tool is less useful as an activity as a learning resource for teachers who wish to craft their own lessons on New Netherland.
The other educational resource is New York’s Colonial Dutch History, which is an educational resource created by the New York State Archives. It features documents and artworks pertaining to the colony in two focused sets, one on transatlantic trade and one on life in a Dutch colony. These document sets might be useful for educators wanting to teach high school students about primary source reading, critical thinking, historical research, mid-17th century life, and the New Netherland colony.