Speech by King Willem-Alexander on being received by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Albany, United States

Governor Hochul, 
Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a very special experience to be here as your guest in New York State, 400 years after the first Dutch colonists arrived on the ship New Netherland. A group of no more than 30 families, some of whom settled on Governors Island, while a handful of others travelled on to what is now the city of Albany. 

A lot has been written about the influence the Dutch had on this area. And often in quite flattering terms. Historian Russell Shorto described the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic as ‘the most progressive and culturally diverse society in Europe’. According to him, the colony established here was ‘characterized by freedoms of thought, belief and trade; features that helped make New York unique’. 

But we know that this picture doesn’t fully reflect the reality of the time. We realise that the perspective of the area’s original inhabitants was very different. 
Their entire way of life was turned upside down, and their freedoms were violated. Today, their descendants are rightly asking that attention be paid to their story.

This visit – 400 years after the New Netherland reached these shores – gives us an opportunity to examine our shared history in all openness and honesty. And to strengthen our cooperation in those areas that mean so much to the State of New York and the Kingdom of the Netherlands: peace, social justice, sustainability, climate action and development opportunities for all.
Governor Hochul, we are very grateful for your hospitality and close involvement in our visit. And we’re greatly looking forward to our next two days in marvellous New York State, a place where we feel so at home.

Thank you.