Coat-of-arms of the 104th Military Police Battalion. The black silhouette of the World Trade Center honours members of the unit who died in the Twin Towers on September 11 and the crest is that which is standard to all New York Army National Guard units, depicting The Half Moon on which Hudson explored New York harbour and the eponymous river.
Earlier this year, in September, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was in New York for a low-key kick-off of these celebrations. He went for a bicycle ride in grand Dutch fashion, and planted a nut tree on Governors Island, in reference to its earlier name given by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block: his ‘Noten Eylant’ was later on pidginised into ‘Nutten Island’. It was a modest gesture heralding an ambitious festival that is to take place next year. A festival that isn’t just a memorial for an English explorer who operated under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company, but that also wants to celebrate the tolerant and diverse traditions of both Amsterdam and New York, intensify and renew historic, cultural, and commercial ties between both cities and create productive new business and cultural relationships.
That’s a tall order, but Dorsman feels up to it. Whereas his predecessor was strongly in favour of the establishment of a Holland House as a focal point for Dutch cultural promotion in NYC, Dorsman declares that he is against ‘waving flags and the concept of an institute’. He strongly believes in ‘projects that matter’, so it seems that this is indeed the perfect timing for him to set sail for the city formerly known als New Amsterdam.