Event Details

On Thursday, November 8th, 2018, The Netherland Club of NY and the New Amsterdam History Center are pleased to welcome historians Noah Gelfand and Danny Noorlander for presentations and discussion on New Amsterdam’s reputation for religious tolerance. Was New Amsterdam’s Reputation for Religious Tolerance Earned?

Noah Gelfand will talk about Opportunities and Insults: Understanding the Minimal Jewish Presence in New Netherland”,  exploring the settlement of Jews in the colony and their struggle to worship according to their faith. He will also look to explain why their residency in New Netherland was small, mostly transitory, and short-lived. In doing so, it will be made clear that the hostility that Jews faced from colony leaders was less important than their connections to the wider Dutch Atlantic world in determining the Jewish experience in New Netherland.

In “Revisiting the Tolerance Question: Calvinists and Their Competitors in the Dutch Atlantic World”, Danny Noorlander will review some of the reasons for the Dutch reputation for tolerance, acknowledging that they were in fact comparatively tolerant. However, he will also encourage people to adopt a bit more nuance and exercise a bit more caution than we typically do with this topic. The Dutch approach to religious non-conformers depended on the political and religious preferences of local rulers, and there were, as a result, various policies and approaches in the Netherlands and the Dutch colonies. If they kept quiet about their faith, no one of any religious background had to fear for their life or property. If they tried to worship publicly, and if they lived in Amsterdam, they might still be safe. But in most other parts of the Dutch world, including much of the Netherlands — and including New Amsterdam  — rulers were not always so indulgent. The Dutch could be and were sometimes quite repressive and controlling.

NAHC & TNC Member: FREE   |   Non-members: $10 | $15 at the door
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Noah L. Gelfand earned his Ph.D. in Atlantic History and US History to 1877 from New York University, where he received numerous awards, including a Quinn Foundation fellowship from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and a Touro National Heritage Trust fellowship from the John Carter Brown Library.  He has published several articles and book chapters on Atlantic history and is currently working on a book about the Jewish Atlantic world during the early modern era. He teaches history at the University of Connecticut at Stamford and at Hunter College.

Danny Noorlander teaches colonial American history, the Atlantic world, and European expansion at the State University of New York at Oneonta. His research and publications cover various aspects of the seventeenth-century Dutch experience in America and around the world. Cornell University Press will publish his book on religion in the Dutch Atlantic in late 2018 or early 2019.