American History Museums New Amsterdam Podcasts

Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: Empire of the Seas (New Bowery Boys Mini-Series)

The epic journey begins! The Bowery Boys Podcast heads to old Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, to find traces of New Amsterdam, the Dutch settlement which became New York.

We begin our journey at Amsterdam’s Centraal Station and spend the day wandering the streets and canals, peeling back the centuries in search of New York’s roots.

Our tour guide for this adventure is Jaap Jacobs, Honorary Lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the author of The Colony of New Netherland: A Dutch Settlement in Seventeenth-Century America.

Jaap takes us around to several spots within the old medieval city — Centrum, including the Red Light District — weaving through the canals and along the harbor, in search of connections to New York’s (and by extension, America’s) past.

You might see hints of this architecture in New York City but back when it was New Amsterdam, it also had canals!

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Dutch settlement in North America, led by the Dutch West India Company, a trading and exploration arm of the thriving Dutch empire. So our first big questions begin there:

What was the Dutch Empire in 1624 when New Netherland was first settled? Was the colony a major part of it? Would Dutch people have even understood where New Amsterdam was?

— What’s the difference between the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company?

To what degree was New Amsterdam truly tolerant in terms of religion? Was it purely driving by profits and trading relationships with the area’s native people like the Lenape?

— The prime export was the pelts of beavers and other North American animals. What happened to these thousands of pelts once they arrived in Amsterdam?

— How central were the Dutch to the emerging Atlantic slave trade? When did the first enslaved men and women arrive in New Amsterdam?

And how are the Pilgrims tied in to all of this? Had they always been destined for the area of today’s Massachusetts?

Among the places we visit this episode — the Maritime Museum, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s oldest building Oude Kirk, the Schreierstoren (the Weeping Tower) and many more

PLUS: We get kicked out of a convent! And we try raw herring sandwiches


Our destinations in this episode:
1 Centraal Station
2 “The Crying Tower”
3 Oust East India House
4 Dutch West India Warehouse
5 Maritime Museum
6 Oude Kirk
7 Walloon Church in Asmterdam
8 Frens Haringhandel
9 Begijnhoff/Cloister
10 Rijksmuseum

Among the historic places featured on this week’s show:

Amsterdam Centraal Station

Schreierstoren/The Crying Tower

Oust East India House (Oude Hoogstraat 24)

Dutch West India Company Warehouse

The Dutch National Maritime Museum

Oude Kirk in the Red Light District

Walloon Church in Asmterdam

Frens Haringhandel


Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Over on Patreon, we released a series of daily shows while on the streets of the Netherlands. You can check out those shows — and the many other benefits of being a Bowery Boys patron — by supporting the show at Patreon.


Interview with Russell Shorto, author of The Island At The Center of the World

The Lenape and other native peoples of the New York/Hudson Valley region would be both trading partners and adversaries of the Dutch, who claimed to have ‘discovered’ the land those people already lived upon.

The story of religious freedom during the New Amsterdam/Peter Stuyvesant plays a major role in this episode which features a visit to the John Bowne House:

Our original two-part series on New Amsterdam:

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