NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–The New Netherland Institute (NNI) hosted their 39th annual conference about the New Netherlands on the campuses of Rutgers University and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

Based in Albany, New York, the organization has celebrated and drawn attention to “America’s Dutch roots.”

It was the first time that the event was in New Jersey, the site of “Pavonia,” a key Dutch settlement early on for the province of New Netherland.

The event explored the Garden State’s 17th century Dutch origins, and featured seven academic speakers from two different countries, the United States and the Netherlands, including Elizabeth Bradley, the author of “Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York,” a cultural history of New York’s first mascot. 

Dubbed “From Pavonia to the Garden State: New Jersey’s Dutch Past,” the conference was “a great success by all accounts,” according to the NNI website. 

“Located between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, New Jersey has often been neglected in favor of more dramatic developments to the east and west,” notes the event page.  “However, as the site of Pavonia, an early patroonship with major agricultural potential, and as the geographic connection between New Amsterdam and the Delaware River settlements, the Garden State’s seventeenth-century origins well deserve our attention.”

The event cost $65 per person, and included a reception on Thursday evening, lunch, dinner and a cocktail hour on Friday, and lunch on Saturday as well.

Stephen McErleane, project manager and web content editor at the New Netherlands Institute explains, said prior to the event that he was most excited about a Saturday morning panel discussion.

“The Emerging Scholars program, which provides support to graduate students and recently minted PhDs, is one of the best things we have going at NNI,” said McErleane.

“While interest in New Netherland has grown in recent years, it can still be difficult for young scholars to find both academic guidance and financial support for their studies. The Emerging Scholars program helps alleviate those shortages.” 

The conference was supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.