Most Dutch came to America simply because they calculated that the future promised more prosperity for them and their children in America than in Holland. The Dutch were ever "family, faith, and farming" advocates. And the Dutch — as opposed to the Puritans — enjoyed the materialistic and creature comforts in life that their hard-earned money bought.
Most of the Dutch settled in New York, particularly Manhattan and Albany. However, at the time New Netherland fell to England in 1664, there were not only settlements at New Amsterdam and Fort Orange, but on Long Island and at various small settlements scattered up and down the Hudson and Delaware rivers.
The 1790 U.S. census shows about 100,000 Dutch-born or Dutch-ancestry families, and at that time 80,000 of them lived within a 50-mile radius of New York City.
There was a great migration of Dutch in the mid-19th century when about 250,000 Dutch peasants and rural artisans came to America. This began in the 1830s, continued into the mid-1840s — triggered by the potato crop failure and a pietistic revolt against the Dutch Reform Church — when about 20,000 people emigrated en masse.
New Netherland was established during the Dutch struggle for control of the world carrying trade, and gave Holland a North American foothold in her growing competition with England. Designed primarily as a commercial venture expected to produce tangible profits from trade, the Dutch colony originally consisted of a series of trading settlements, with little effort being made to undertake agricultural colonization.
The course of Dutch settlement in America was influenced not only by its definite economic motive but also by the geography of the region selected for development. Along the mighty Hudson, from its mouth to the head of navigation, Dutch trading posts were established in the fertile valley and the region was loosely knit into a province by a natural highway which provided communication and transportation for merchandise. The natural point of deposit and transshipment of merchandise was at the mouth of the river and here logically was established the social, economic and political center of the colony in the settlement of New Amsterdam. To provide direct economic and political control of a widespread trading region, which also in claim at least embraced the Connecticut and Delaware valleys as well as the Hudson, a strong executive was placed at Fort Amsterdam, and little self-government was exercised by the outlying trading settlements until late in the Dutch period. Trade remained the paramount activity of the Dutch colony until about 1650 when efforts were underway to expand the Hudson frontier through agricultural colonization. Development of landed agricultural domains was first unsuccessfully attempted by the Dutch through the patroonship system. This social, economic and political experiment succeeded better in the hands of the Dutch element when the manor system was established during the English provincial period in New York.
The political, economic, social, architectural and religious contributions made by Dutch colonial activity in America can be illustrated by certain significant sites. The site most representative of the centralized Dutch colonial government, commercial activity and colonial town society, is unquestionably that of Fort Amsterdam, the nucleus of New Amsterdam, the capital and trading center of New Netherland. While no remains exist at the site, it is in public ownership.
A notable contribution from Dutch colonial culture was an architectural form, reputed to be one of the earliest true indigenous designs evolved during the development of American architecture. This is the so-called Dutch colonial type, which was an adaptation of European Dutch design to meet colonial living conditions. Guided by the criteria of obvious age, architectural merit and historic value, a study of the examples of Dutch colonial domestic architecture mow existing in northern New Jersey and New York has revealed two especially important structures in Westchester County, New York. The Van Cortlandt Manor House, at Harmon, is an unusually splendid example of a Dutch colonial country residence. Philipse Manor Hall, at Yonkers, on the other hand, is a fine and pretentious mansion, peculiarly representative of the architectural elegance attained by the elite class of Dutch colonial society. Furthermore, these two fine structures are representative physical remains of the manor or land-owning system, that interesting social, economic and political entity of Dutch colonial society on the Hudson.
The colony of New Netherland made a contribution to colonial religious history when it introduced the Dutch Reformed Church into North America. Established in an age of religious bigotry in Europe, the Dutch colony was a landmark in the struggle for the freedom of religious conscience in the New World. Despite the existence of an established church in New Netherland, during the early Dutch period the colony be came an asylum for persecuted beliefs in Europe and the other American colonies. The fundamental Dutch tolerance prevailed over Stuyvesant's brief religious tyranny and was largely the cause for the early establishment of a cosmopolitan atmosphere in New Amsterdam and New York.
Answered By: Indy aj - 4/26/2008