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The Radical Walloons: Amsterdam/New Amsterdam (Bowery Boys mini-series)

Our adventure in the Netherlands continues with a quest to find the Walloons, the French-speaking religious refugees who became the first settlers of New Netherland in 1624. Their descendants would last well beyond the existence of New Amsterdam and were among the first people to call themselves New Yorkers.

But you can’t tell the Walloon story without that other group of American religious settlers — the Pilgrims who settled in Massachusetts four years earlier.

All roads lead to Leiden, the university city with a history older than Amsterdam. Greg and Tom join last episode’s guest Jaap Jacobs, the author of The Colony of New Netherland, to explore the birthplace of Rembrandt, the historic botanical garden and a site associated with Adriaen van der Donck (whose “patroonship,” or manor, gives the city of Yonkers, New York, its name).

Then they visit with Koen Kleijn, art historian and editor-in-chief of history magazine Ons Amsterdam, who takes them on a journey through Amsterdam’s history — from the innovative story of its canals to the disaster known as Tulipmania, the 1630 speculative mania that set the stage for generations of stock-market shenanigans.

PLUS: A detour to Amsterdam Noord and a look at a miniature model of New Amsterdam, courtesy of the design and production team at Artitec. And while visiting the John Adams Institute — located inside the Dutch West India House — Tom and Greg come upon an old friend holding court in a fountain.

PLUS: Tom sustains an injury — from a bitterballen!


The Artitec scale model of New Amsterdam, currently being completed in Amsterdam Noord. There are plans to bring this eleborate and beautiful to the United States so stay tuned!

Some little New Amsterdam soldiers under construction.

Leiden resident taking a rest after a long bike ride.

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


Tom and producer Kieran at the Lazy Crazy Cafe, awaiting Jaap’s arrival

Burcht van Leiden

Rembrandt birthplace

Leiden Botanical Garden

Leyden University (This was the school bell you heard on the show)

Walloon Church of Leyden

American Pilgrim Museum

Dutch West India House

Copy of the Schagen Letter hanging on the wall here.


Start with part one — Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: Empire of the Seas featuring Jaap Jacobs, who 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.

Then, listen to our 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:

2 replies on “The Radical Walloons: Amsterdam/New Amsterdam (Bowery Boys mini-series)”

Modern Walloons speak French, yes. However, up until my grandmother’s generation they spoke primarily Walloon. (Or sometimes Picard.)

My dad’s line of our ancestry goes back to the MONFOORTS, Walloons from Valenciennes, France who moved by 1600 to Nieuw Amsterdam then on the first ship of Walloons to the new world. Arriving in March 1624 at the tip of Manhattan Island and spending some time at Ft Orange before coming back to Manhattan. Only four names have been proven as being on the first two ships and was such a surprise to find my own family as one named out of the four….originally Montfort/Monfort but using the Dutch spelling for several generations before settling on Montfort [my line] and Monfort.

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