The Board of Directors of the New Netherland Museum has announced that the Half Moon, a replica of the ship sailed by Henry Hudson in 1609, will leave New York State for a new home port in the City of Hoorn, The Netherlands in 2015.
The City Council of Hoorn voted Tuesday to adopt the Half Moon for inclusion in a 17th century historic site under the management of the Westfries Museum. The Half Moon is expected to remain the property of the New Netherland Museum, but it will lose its long-time captain, William T. “Chip” Reynolds.
“From the moment the keel of the Half Moon was laid, it has been my ambition to see the Half Moon sail in Dutch waters,” Andrew Hendricks, Founder and Chairman of the New Netherland Museum & Half Moon Replica, said in an e-mail announcing the move Tuesday evening.
“After 25 years of service as the unofficial flagship of the State of New York, the Half Moon will have the opportunity to sail in the Netherlands,” Reynolds said. “A new world-wide public will have the chance to appreciate the ship, which will be the only operating 17th century Dutch ship in the Netherlands. The Half Moon will highlight the Dutch Golden Age and its accomplishments.”
In an e-mail message to supporters in October, Chip Reynolds said financial hardships, including annual budget shortfalls, combined with an inability to find a permanent home port in New York State were the factors that have led to the move.
Half Moon sailed into Albany in 1999 with a plan to make the city its home port. Despite the support then Governor George Pataki the plan was never realized and Reynolds said the idea was finally dropped after 9/11.
“We have pursued many options over the years, but none have come to fruition,” Reynolds said in October. “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.”
Illustration above, an artist’s rendition of the Half Moon in the harbor a Hoorn. Photo below, the Westfries Museum.
James S. Kaplan says
I wish the City of Hoorn and the Dutch museum well with its new acquisition of the Half Moon and with its efforts to promote and highlight the importance of the golden age of Dutch commerce and exploration in the 17th century. Certainly the story of the Dutch, and particularly their importance to the founding of New York and the United States,, his for too long been neglected in the teaching of history here in the United States.
However, as a native New Yorker with a deep interest in the history of the City and State of New York, I believe it is a great tragedy that the City and State of New York and its people were not able to come up with the funding to support such an important historical icon as the Half Moon, so that its owners felt compelled to find a new home for it in Holland. Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage into New York harbor was the origin of this City and State just as the story of Romulus and Remos were the origin of the founding of Rome. Over the last 400 years the City and State of New York have become one of the wealthiest communities in the world. Unfortunately, our lack of understanding of our history and the importance of venerating it has for now resulted in the loss to this City and State of a very important historical artifact. I commend Mr.Reynolds and his compatriots for keeping the Half Moon alive here in New York waters for as long as they did,
and hope that we here in New York State and City will not in the future so easily let such important opportunities to highlight our history slip away to other comunities.
James S. Kaplan
President, Lower Manhattan Historical Society