Friday , March 31 2023

Dutch Museum Saba presented history of West India Company

The Daily Herald writes that the Dutch Museum in Windwardside organized two presentations for Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) on Thursday and Friday. The presentations were about the relationships between Saba and the Netherlands, and the history of Dutch West India Company (WIC). Initiator of the Foundation Dutch Museum Saba René Caderius van Veen is planning to organise more of these presentations, possibly on a weekly basis.

Nine children of class five and eight children of classes three and four attended presentations on Thursday and Friday, respectively. SCS teacher Mark Dodds contacted Caderius after seeing a post about murals from the WIC-era on Facebook.

The Dutch Museum opened in 2011 with an exhibition of antique Dutch tiles made between 1625 and 1850. Later that same year, around Christmas time, another exhibit was organised about Dutch books with copper engravings from 1640 until 1770. Shortly thereafter, Caderius came in the possession of a large quantity of lace artwork from Holland. Involving also the “Saba Lace Ladies” he researched and organised a Dutch lace exhibition. Over the years, he collected many artefacts which resulted in the official establishment of the Dutch Museum as a foundation on Saba.

Last week’s presentations were considered “fun and educational,” said Caderius, who was pleased with the young visitors’ continued attention. The almost one-hour presentation was about WIC’s history, not to be confused with Dutch East-India Company VOC. After its initial establishment in 1623, WIC traded mostly with areas which are now in Brazil and Chile. The VOC supported the WIC and was also prominently active in the United States and Canada until 1667. Prior to 1667, New York was called New Amsterdam, and the surrounding land was called New Netherlands. Caderius also spoke about the slave trade and transports, especially to Suriname, St. Eustatius and Curaçao, as well as about Dutch, English and Spanish piracy between 1560 and 1725.

Dodds was very pleased with the field trip. “As we are a part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, it is very important that students learn about the role the Dutch played in the development of the Caribbean. Although the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) curriculum is very British-island based, the similarities between the British and Dutch and their interaction with one another during this period of history cannot be ignored,” he commented afterwards. He felt Caderius has put together a “very interesting, informative and lush presentation,” which should be enjoyed and appreciated by both islanders and visitors to Saba.


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  1. Thank you Rene for such wonderful visits. Looking forward to making this a regular part of the curriculum.

  2. Congratulations Rene on your presentation to the School Children. Your museum and presentations are excellent. There is something at the museum for all ages to enjoy!

  3. How very fortunate for the Saban community, students, guests and tourists to have access to the Dutch Museum, to expand their knowledge of Dutch Caribbean history and also to view the many artifacts representing European decorative arts and furniture of three centuries. What is so nice about museums is that you can take away so much information and it will open up many doors to your curiosity, and it is right here, in your own backyard.
    So Enjoy

  4. This message is to express my feelings of gratitude to Mark Dodds who initiated this. But also the students from all classes (3, 4 and 5) deserve compliments for the fact that they were looking and listening with so much attention to a presentation of 1 hour that was dealing with the history of 200 years. The fact that notes have been made by students, the interest shown into the artefacts of the museum when we had a break, the questions that they asked, definitely deserve a compliment and admiration.