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Fort Wilhelmus was a factorij in the 17th century colonial province of New Netherland, located on what had been named Hooghe Eyland (High Island) (also called Verhulsten Island) on the Zuyd Rivier, now Burlington Island in the Delaware River in New Jersey.[1][2][3] [4] More a trading post than a military installation, it was built in 1625 by colonists from the Netherlands in the employ of the Dutch West India Company, with the intention of establishing a physical claim to the new territory and to engage in the fur trade with the indigenous population of Lenape and Minqua. The Walloon families had originally arrived at Noten Island (Governors Island) across from Fort Amsterdam in the Upper New York Bay, They had been sent south in order to begin the population of the province of New Netherland. They were later recalled back to New Amsterdam since the Dutch West India Company had decided to concentrate their settlement efforts along the North River, or Hudson River [5][6]

The fort was likely so called from Het Wilhelmus (About this sound pronunciation ) (English translation: The William), a song which tells of Willem van Oranje, his life and why he is fighting for the Dutch people. It became, in 1932, the national anthem of the Netherlands and is the oldest national anthem in the world.[7] Although it was not recognized as the official national anthem until 1932, it remained popular with the Dutch people since its creation.[8]

See also[]


  1. Gehring, Charles T. (1995). "Hodie Mihi, Cras Tibi". New Sweden in America Swedish-Dutch relations in the Delaware Valley. University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-520-6. 
  2. Apparently referring to the erection of a fort on Verhulsten Island, near the present site of Trenton, N. J., which was recommended to Verhulst in 1625. (See Document C.) Another fort, called Fort Nassau, was erected near Gloucester, N. J., as early as 1624. Wassenaer, under date of April 1624, says: "They also placed a fort which they named "Wilhelmus" on Prince's Island, heretofore called Murderer's Island; it is open in front, and has a curtain in the rear and is garrisoned by sixteen men for the defence of the river below." The location of this fort has not been definitely ascertained. Brodhead suggests that it may have been on Pollepel's Island, just above the Highlands, in the Hudson River, but more likely it was on the South or Delaware River, which on the Buchelius chart is called the "Wilhelmus river." (See J. F. Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, frontispiece, and pp. 76, 84, 271, and J. R. Brodhead, History of the State of New York, 1:758.)
  3. "Brief History of New Netherland". 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  5. Bert van Steeg,Walen in de Wildernis : Bij aankomst in de kolonie werden de kolonisten opgesplitst in vier groepen en werden er op een aantal plaatsen kleine vestigingen gesticht, vooral in de buurt van de al bestaande handelsposten. Een aantal families werden gevestigd aan de Delaware. Hier werd fort Wilhelmus gesticht. Twee families en zes mannen werden naar de Connecticut rivier gestuurd. Ook op Governors’ eiland werden een aantal kolonisten geplaatst om een fort te bouwen. Het grootste aantal kolonisten, onder wie Catalina Rapalje, werd echter net ten zuiden van het huidige Albany geplaatst. May liet hier een klein fort bouwen dat de naam Fort Orange kreeg. Hier verbleven ongeveer achttien families.
    English translation: Upon arrival in the colony the settlers were divided into four groups and were in some places small businesses founded, especially in the vicinity of the existing trading posts. Some families were located on the Delaware. Fort Wilhelmus was founded here. Two families and six men were sent to the Connecticut River. Also on Governors' Island were placed to a number of settlers to build a fort. The largest number of settlers, including Catalina Rapalje, however, was placed just south of present-day Albany. May established a small fort built here that was named Fort Orange, with about eighteen families.
    Brodhead, J.R., History of the state of New York (New York 1871), 150-191
  6. Rink, Oliver (2009). "Seafarers ad Businessmen:". Dutch New York:The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture. Yonkers, NY: Fordham University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8232-3039-6. 
  7. Netherlands
  8. Brief recording of Het Wilhelmus (mp3 file)

Coordinates: 40°5′30″N 74°50′45″W / 40.09167°N 74.84583°W / 40.09167; -74.84583

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