The historic ship Half Moon, a replica of the ship Henry Hudson sailed in 1609 to the river which now bears his name, has announced intentions to move to Hoorn in The Netherlands.
The announcement came late Thursday in an e-mail message to supporters from Chip Reynolds, Director of the New Netherland Museum and Captain of the Replica Ship Half Moon. Reynolds cited ongoing financial hardships exacerbated by annual budget shortfalls, and an inability to find a permanent berth and site for programming. “Continued operation of the Half Moon in our current capacity is financially unsustainable,” Reynolds said.
The Half Moon arrived in Albany in 1999 with plans, and the support of then Governor George Pataki, to establish itself permanently on the Albany waterfront. Those plans never came to fruition; Reynolds says they were dropped after 9/11.
“We have pursued many options over the years, but none have come to fruition,” according to Reynolds. “While several concepts remain as possibilities, no person or entity in New York has so far been prepared to take ownership of the Half Moon and move forward with a larger plan.”
“It is in this context that Andrew Hendricks, MD, the founder and Chairman of the New Netherland Museum, invited representatives from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, The Netherlands, to visit the Half Moon and consider taking ownership of the vessel for permanent placement at their museum north of Amsterdam,” Reynolds told supporters
The Director of the Westfries Museum and an elected official from Hoorn toured the Half Moon their organization’s office in Albany last weekend and indicated “serious interest” Reynolds said, in taking ownership and moving the vessel to Hoorn. Municipal officials in Hoorn are expected to vote on the proposal at a meeting later this year.
Reynolds offered high praise for the organizations volunteers. “The resounding success… over the past fifteen years,” Reynolds wrote, “is due to the commitment of an incredible group of people who range from as far as Asia, through Europe, and the United States who have committed their time and talents to keeping this programming going.” The Half Moon will hold an end of the season gathering on October 25th.
The 85-foot Half Moon, boasting three masts, six sails with 2,757 square feet of canvas, six cannons and four anchors, is a replica of the Halve Maen, commissioned in March 1609 for the Dutch East India Company. Hudson, an Englishman, was searching for a passage to the Pacific, when he claimed the area for the Dutch, 10 years the landing at Plymouth Rock by the Pilgrims.
Photo above courtesy Wikimedia user.
It is no surprise to me that the reminders of our past are no longer important or even recognized. People don’t know much about where they came from or who we are as a nation.
Social Studies as a subject in elementary and many middle schools is either not taught or is subsumed into something else. “There is no money” seems to be the chant and of course we need to keep up with scientific endeavors in the great race.
This saddens me and worries me for the future of my children and grandchildren.
Julie O'Connor says
it’s not clear what it would take for a home port. Are the specifics identified anywhere?
By all means send her over! We’d love to have her!
Looking forward to see her in the harbour of Hoorn
Robert Hedgeman says
I believe if the Mayor of Albany was to become involved with the Half Moon ,the ship would stay here
it truly belongs.
Pam Malcolm says
What a loss for the Hudson Valley should it leave! Seeing this beautiful replica ship gliding quietly along the Hudson is such an exquisite surprise. My family has such happy memories of touring it and interacting with its wonderful interpreters. Talk about bringing history to life!
Deborah Bayly says
One can only hope that a solution is found to prevent the Half Moon
from being removed from its home port. It cannot be allowed to slip away, I agree that the new mayor of Albany needs to investigate other
solutions so that we might keep this treasure where it belongs.
Jeroen Vogel says
As a person born and raised in the city of Hoorn, the Netherlands, I felt it appropriate to share my personal opinion on the possible move of the Half Moon to my former hometown. I have done so in an email to Mr. Reynolds, the skipper of the replica, in hopes he will use is power to alter the current plans and keep the vessel in the waters of the Hudson River.
Here is the email I sent earlier today:
Dear Mr. Reynolds,
Today I have taken notice through two articles, one being published on the New York History Blog and the other on a local Dutch news website, that the New Netherland Museum has proposed a possible move of the Half Moon replica to the Westfrisian Museum in Hoorn, the Netherlands. By writing to you I want to urge you to reconsider this proposal. Please allow me to explain my concern.
The Half Moon is – to my knowledge – the only replica of a VOC vessel capable of operating without the support of other (modern) boats. This allows the ship to sail along the Hudson River, as it has done for the last 15 years, and replicate one of the most significant events in America’s modern history. The educational value of resembling life as it was on board a VOC vessel goes beyond any school book and other sorts of written curriculum and allows American students, no matter how old they are, to comprehend through experience how Europeans actually arrived in New Netherland, now the United States.
I strongly believe that the ship belongs in the Hudson River. It is a replica of the very vessel that carried the man after which the river has been named, Henry Hudson, and it is only through the presence of the replica in New York State that the New Netherland Museum can showcase to the extent of reality all those West Indian Company journals that were translated right after the founding of the New Netherland Institute. I think that it is crucial for Americans, especially those of Dutch descent, to have such a historical tool as this vessel at their disposal in a land that prides itself on its progress and modern society.
I’m not American myself. I was born and raised in Hoorn, the Netherlands, the very town where the replica would end up if this plan gets the go-ahead. The Halve Maen, the original ship, was a ship from Amsterdam, at the time a rival town of Hoorn. If anything, the Half Moon belongs there, and otherwise in the Hudson River. Amsterdam already has a replica of its own, and Hoorn could build a replica of one of its own famous vessels if it desired to do so.
I’m aware of the financial difficulties that the exploitation brings along. Yet I want to ask you to see if there are any other options to keep the ship in the United States, more specifically, in the Hudson River. You wrote in your email to supporters of your institute that there are still possibilities that remain. Please pursue those first if these even seem slightly viable, rather than placing this beautiful vessel in a harbor that has nothing to do with its original’s history.
I thank you in advance for your considerations.
Dorothy Heller says
Two comments, first I agree with Julia O’Connor. What is needed? The second, everyone should read the wonderful Letter written by Jeroen Vogel.
The Hudson River means so much to the people of Clay. The Lutheran Church and the Town of Clay founders came up the Hudson after being sent to American as indentured servants by Good Queen Anne of England. They were Palatines. The pastor of the Lutheran Church for 47 years, born in Athens, wrote a book of his childhood growing up on the Hudson called, “Shadows of the Half Moon”. The Halve Maen needs to stay on the Hudson. I even forwwarded a copy of this email to my former exchange student who lives in Gouda.
PLease let us know the alternatives to sending it to Holland!!
Dorothy Heller, Historian
Corine van Drimmelen says
As a Dutch citizen living in the Unites States and a volunteer on the Half Moon, I wholeheartedly agree with what Jeroen Vogel is stating above. The ship belongs here in the Hudson River so people can see an example of “living history”. The ship has been invaluable in teaching what life was like to so many children (and adults) in the past fifteen years. Captain Reynolds was instrumental in the success of so many programs. It is really a great loss for this area and I will be sure to visit “De Halve Maen” when I am in the Netherlands to see my family.