Willem Verhulst

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Willem Verhulst
2nd Director of New Netherland
In office
Preceded byCornelis Jacobszoon May
Succeeded byPeter Minuit

Willem Verhulst or Willem van Hulst was an employee of the Dutch West India Company and the second (provisional) director of the New Netherland colony in 1625–26. Nothing is known about his life before and after this period.

Life and career[edit]

Verhulst sailed from the Netherlands in January 1625 on the ship Orangenboom ("Orange Tree") as "provisionally director of the colonists". In April of that year, four more ships sailed out with settlers and farm animals (the ships were named Paert, Koe, Schaep, and Makreel, meaning "horse, "cow", sheep" and "mackerel").[1] He had received very detailed instructions from the board of directors. In 1625, Verhulst oversaw the decision to locate the company's main fortress and town on the tip of Manhattan Island in the colony of New Netherland. The settlement, which was given the name New Amsterdam, was the first permanent European settlement in what was later called New York City.

Verhulst was not popular with the Dutch colonists and was quickly replaced by Peter Minuit. He sailed back to the Dutch Republic on the Wapen van Amsterdam ("Arms of Amsterdam") which left September 23 and arrived November 4, 1626 in Amsterdam. He brought with him the news that the colony was doing well and that Manhattan had been bought from the natives for goods valued at 60 guilders, leading some historians to propose that the otherwise obscure Verhulst oversaw this transaction.[2]


  1. ^ "Willem Verhulst", New Netherland Institute
  2. ^ Russell Shorto (2004) The Island at the Center of the World, Doubleday, 2004, ISBN 0385503490, pp. 46-55.

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Cornelius Mey
Director of New Netherland
Succeeded by
Peter Minuit