Explorers explored

Sailing towards the unknown.jpgThe Dutch have always been great travellers, and were amongst the very first explorers of the world. You had to be very brave to be an explorer – let’s not forget that in the early days people thought the world was flat and if you sailed to the edge, you’d fall of…

One of the most famous Dutch explorers was Willem Barentsz, who set off in 1596 to find the north passage to the Far East by travelling over the top of Russia. His ship got stuck in Svalbard, high up in the Arctic Circle. Willem and his crew made a hut out of their ship’s timber which they called ‘the Safe House’. They survived the Arctic winter but sadly Willem died on his way home in 1597. However, 300 years later ‘the Safe House’ was discovered by a Norwegian Whaler – still safe and sound. Perhaps he should have stayed put after all 🙂

Did you know that….

New York was called New Amsterdam until the British conquered it in 1664 and re-named it New York, after the Duke of York.

Other Dutch explorers were more successful. The Dutch discovered AustraliaTasmaniaNew Zealand, the Easter Islands and Tonga. They were also the first to discover and land ships on the Hudson River in New York State 400 years ago, in 1609.