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Even though the Dutch were only in charge here for some 50 years back in the 1600s, they had a profound influence on the city. The entrepreneurial spirit of the Dutch helped turn New York harbor into one of the most prosperous ports in America; some 400 years later, the city is still the most important metropolis in the world.

As New Amsterdam became New York, the Dutch descendants -- as well as the names of streets and neighborhoods -- remained. Today, that influence is felt throughout the city in contemporary Dutch art, architecture, fashion, and design.

The Past

Explore the vestiges of New York's Dutch past through walking tours, historic sites, and timeless art.

New Amsterdam Trail Walking Tour:

Discover the city's 17th-century Dutch roots on a self-guided, walking tour of lower Manhattan. Learn about Dutch landmarks, architecture, monuments, and street names. Download a map and audio tour: www.nyharborparks.org.

Historic Sites:

  • Dyckman Farmhouse Museum (4881 Broadway at 204th St.; tel. 212/304-9422; www.dyckmanfarmhouse.org) This farmhouse, built by William Dyckman in about 1784, was once part of a thriving 250-acre farm. Learn about the transformation from farming community to urban neighborhood.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace (28 East 20th St.; tel. 212/260-1616; www.nps.gov/thrb) The Roosevelt family was part of the original group of Dutch merchants who made their fortunes turning New York harbor into a prosperous port.
  • St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery (131 East 10th St.; tel. 212/674-6377; stmarksbowery.org) This property, once owned by Peter Stuyvesant, is the oldest site of continuous worship in New York City.
  • Van Cortlandt House Museum (Broadway at West 246th St.; tel. 718/543-3344; www.vancortlandthouse.org) George Washington stayed at the Van Cortlandt House, built in 1748, at least twice during the Revolutionary War.
  • Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum (5816 Clarendon Rd., Brooklyn, NY; tel. 718/629-5400; www.wyckoffassociation.org) A relic from the New Amsterdam period, the Wyckoff Farmhouse is probably the oldest structure in New York City, dating back to 1652.

Timeless Art: Works by renowned Dutch artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Dyck, and van Gogh are on exhibit at several NYC museums, such as the Frick (www.frick.org), the Met (www.metmuseum.org), and MoMA (www.moma.org). At the Museum of the City of New York (www.mcny.org) Timescapes, a documentary, traces the history and development of New York City over the past 400 years.

The Present

Elements of Dutch design are everywhere in present-day art and architecture, housewares, food, and fashion.

Culture: 5 Dutch Days 5 Boroughs (www.5dutchdaysnyc.org)) This annual festival celebrates four centuries of Dutch art and culture in New York City. Events take place in November and feature an array of programs, exhibits, performances and contemporary Dutch art, bringing together museums, galleries, and historic sites from each of the five boroughs.

Design:

  • droog New York (76 Greene St.; tel. 212 941 8350; www.droogusa.com) The Dutch home-d├ęcor designs at this store are hip and trendy.
  • Moss (150 Greene St.; tel. 212/204-7100; www.mossonline.com) This shop in SoHo has cool housewares by Dutch designers, including Studio Job, Jongerius Lab, Claudy Jongstra, and Marcel Wanders.

Fashion: Dutch designers are being worn by the city's in-the-know fashionistas. Popular labels include Blueblood (www.bluebloodbrand.com); G-Star jeans (www.g-star.com); gsus (www.g-sus.com); and Viktor & Rolf (www.viktor-rolf.com). Kids too: Toobydoo (www.toobydoo.com); Buisjes en Beugels (www.buisjesenbeugels.nl).

Food:

Typical Dutch treats include Haring (herring), Krokets (croquettes), Gouda (cheese), Poffertjes (small pancakes), Stroopwafel (waffle-like wafers with caramel filling) and Indonesian Rijsttafel.
  • Oyster Bar & Restaurant (Grand Central Terminal, lower level, 89 E. 42nd St.; tel. 212-490-6653; www.oysterbarny.com) Mark your calendar for Herring Week, held every June.
  • Java Indonesian Rijsttafel (455 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, NY; tel. 718/832-4583; Subway: F to 15th St. or 7th Ave.) Rijsttafel is rice served with several little side dishes of spicy meats, shrimp, chicken, veggies, and fruits. Rijsttafel for two, $40.

The Future

It is only fitting that New York continues to benefit from Dutch innovation.

New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion (www.thebattery.org) Peter Minuit Plaza, in front of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, will become the New Amsterdam Plein with a NYC Visitor Information kiosk, snack bar, and bathrooms. Designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio, this space looks like it could be The Jetsons' summer home. Opens Fall 2010.

Park on Governors Island (New York Harbor; www.govisland.com) Dutch landscape architects and urban planners, West 8 (www.west8.nl), are part of a team designing an exceptional new park for the renewal of Governors Island.

Tulips: From late April to early May, some 50,000 tulips are in bloom at the New York Botanical Garden (www.nybg.org) and in the city parks (www.nycgovparks.org).

Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers in our New York forum today.