Birthplace Kiliaen van Rensselaer open to the public
Hoogstraat 12 in the hands of the Vanneau Foundation
Place of birth Kiliaen van Rensselaer© DKN | appointment
Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s birthplace in Hasselt will be open to the public. The new owner, the Fondation Vanneau de Harderwijk, wants to convert the building into an exhibition space. The intention is that there will be a permanent exhibition on Van Rensselaer with a focus on his early years in Hasselt, how he made his fortune in Amsterdam and developed his own settlement near New Amsterdam, later New York. The consequences of colonialism and the slave trade in the 17th century will also be of interest.
A few weeks ago, the historic building at Hoogstraat 12 passed into the hands of the Fondation Vanneau, a foundation that sponsors heritage projects.
According to President Dario Usai, the former owner is very happy that the building has a museum function. Usai sees plenty of opportunities for this, partly because Van Rensselaer is well known in the United States. Tourists regularly visit the property. They can also admire it from the inside.
After his youth in Hasselt, Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1586-1643) became a wealthy man in Golden Age Amsterdam, mainly thanks to an excellent network in the jewelry trade. He became a major shareholder and administrator of the Compagnie des Indes Occidentales, but appeared above all as a colonizer. With the land he acquired in the New Netherlands, Rensselaerswijck grew: an area the size of a Dutch province. After the necessary setbacks, Rensselaerswijck finally became a success. The exhibition will also highlight the disadvantages of this success for the indigenous population and the slaves used.
The Vanneau Foundation also wants to furnish part of the building for an exhibition on Peregrinus van Barmentlo. In 1481 he was one of the very first book printers in the Netherlands. Reason enough for the Vanneau Foundation to also organize a permanent exhibition on this subject. The printing house was located in the same place as the current building at Hoogstraat 12.
It is still unclear when Van Rensselaer’s birthplace will be open to the public. The foundation is aiming for 2024.
By: De Zwartewaterkrant | Writing
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