NEW YORK, NY.- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen, Dutch Cabinet Minister Frans Timmermans and NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta today announced a year of special events, exhibits, outdoor activities and performances to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson aboard the Dutch vessel 'Halve Maen' to New York City. City officials also announced that the celebration of the City's Dutch roots and its waterfront will culminate with a special Harbor Day on September 13. Further, the Mayor unveiled a model of the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, a gift presented by The Netherlands Government to New York City, designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio, Amsterdam. The 5,000 square-foot Plein & Pavilion, a tribute to 400 years of friendship, will be permanently erected at the Battery in late 2009.
"We are proud to celebrate this momentous anniversary and the significance of the Dutch in both the rich history and vibrant future of New York City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We are pleased to observe the many similarities we share with our Dutch friends, including a strong sense of optimism and tolerance, and a great appreciation for diversity, design and innovation. All of these celebrations will give people one more reason to visit New York City this year. Tourism is going to be one of those industries that helps support our local economy during the recession, and we are working harder than ever to promote it."
"With substantial expertise in the fields of water management, development and technology, as well as tourism and the wider maritime and creative industries, the Netherlands and New York City have a unique connection that links the two not only in terms of history, but also current priorities and future legacy," said Mayor Cohen. "The NYC400 Quadricentennial Celebration signifies a commitment to preserving the memory of the discovery of New York City and also an allegiance to valuable and productive political, economic and cultural relations between the City and the Netherlands."
"A lasting gift from the Netherlands to New York City, the striking Pavilion which will be poignantly located at the Battery, will serve as a permanent reminder of this meaningful anniversary and significant moment in history," said Frans Timmermans. "Furthermore, the Pavilion, designed by leading Dutch architect Ben van Berkel, will symbolize the deep-rooted ties between the Dutch and New York City, as we look forward to another 400 years of friendship."
"New York City in 2009 will be as vibrant as ever, with the festivities surrounding this exciting anniversary providing a renewed focus on our waterfront throughout the five boroughs, and even more of a reason for locals and visitors alike to take advantage of the great New York City harbors," said George Fertitta. "We encourage both residents and tourists to enjoy all of the celebratory activities and to embrace now more than ever the City's rich history along with the modern values shared by both destinations, in particular freedom, democracy and open-mindedness."
The first ever Harbor Day will feature events and activities including free bike rental and ferry rides to encourage New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy the City's waterfronts districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn and on Governors Island. Harbor Day will become an annual event to recognize and appreciate the progress New York City has made in reclaiming its waterfront and opening harbor parks and greenways, as well as in creating sustainable developments that improve habitats and preserve resources for future generations.
"This is a momentous occasion in our State's history, as we celebrate the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial from Battery Park through the entire Hudson River corridor," said Governor David A. Paterson. "The 400th anniversaries of the exploration of our historic Hudson River and Lake Champlain celebrate our rich history, our embrace of diversity, tolerance and innovation, and our partnership with the Dutch. Perhaps most importantly, we are utilizing the occasion to focus attention on the most important legacy of all - environmental and economic sustainability starting with the next 100 years."
In a partnership with the city of Amsterdam and the Consulate General of the Netherlands, NYC & Company will seek to strengthen tourism between the City and the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg region by celebrating the landmark anniversary year with events in both the Netherlands and New York City and by engaging hotels, airlines and tour-operators to create special packages to encourage more tourism. A key component of the NYC400 tourism campaign is a new partnership with Continental Airlines. Continental announced today that it will offer a special fare of 450 ($591) including taxes and surcharges for return flights from Amsterdam to New York. The fare, which will be available and valid for travel from January 28 to February 28, 2009, is subject to availability and tax/surcharge and exchange-rate fluctuations. Restrictions and conditions apply.
"As the largest carrier in the New York market and as we mark 10 years of Amsterdam-New York service in 2009, Continental is delighted to support the NYC400 celebrations," said Larry Kellner, Continental's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We applaud this initiative, which not only pays tribute to historical links but also seeks to build closer ties between two of the world's greatest cities, as well as adding to New York City's fabulous array of events and attractions."
Last year New York City welcomed a record 366,000 visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg region, surpassing the record 293,000 visitors in 2007. New York City is the number one destination for Dutch and Belgian travelers to the US.