This year marks the 400th anniversary of Dutch settlers arriving in New York City. To commemorate this moment, the Netherlands Consulate General in New York has launched a two-year initiative to highlight the triumphs and challenges of New York’s layered history, our rich relationship with the Netherlands, and how we should “write the next chapter of our shared story.” Titled Future 400, the initiative will feature a series of performances, exhibitions, public conversations, and more programming. Artists, civic leaders, community advocates, scholars, and people from partner organizations based in New York City and the Netherlands attended Future 400‘s kickoff on Wednesday at the National Museum of the American Indian. Untapped New York had the privilege to attend and receive a sneak peek of the unique collaborations being forged.

Future 400 Launch
Photo by Chantal Heijnen CHANTAL HEIJNEN

Esteemed speakers at the launch event included Kingdom of the Netherlands Ambassador Birgitta Tazelaar, NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, and NYC Records & Information Services Commissioner Pauline Toole along with Grandmother Clara Soaring Hawk, Ambassador of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, who led a spiritual prayer. Her remarks united the room, spotlighting the goal of Future 400 to recognize and honor the people who were already here when the Dutch arrived. Future 400 will “mark, with candor and integrity, the complicated milestone of 400 years since Dutch settlers’ arrival in what is now New York City.”

Future 400 programming will run through 2024 and 2025. Performances, talks, and more events will take place in historic landmarks across New York City and the Netherlands. At the New-York Historical Society, visitors can see rare artifacts from the 17th century in the new exhibit, New York Before New York: The Castello Plan of New Amsterdam. Untapped New York Insiders have the chance to take a free guided tour of the exhibit on April 13th!

New York Before New York Exhibit

Music, dance performances, and plays will run at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, Battery Dance Festival, Apollo Theater, and more storied venues. There will also be exciting pop-up events like Tulip Day on April 7th, where 200,000 tulips will take over Union Square Park. See a full line-up of Future 400 events here!

Discover more of Untapped New York’s Dutch history on our upcoming walking tour, Remnants of New Amsterdam! With your own copy of the Castello Plan in hand, we’ll walk the original Dutch street and Manhattan’s 1600s shoreline as we locate physical reminders of New York City’s colonial past.

Remnants of New Amsterdam

Tourgoers on a Remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam tour touch a stone wall in the subway

Next, check out A Rare Letter Recording the “Sale” of Manhattan