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Four hundred years after the Dutch first staked their claim on a patch of land east of the Hudson River under the guidance of Henry Hudson, they're returning to New York City in the form of the New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion to commemorate the event. Designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio, Amsterdam, the monument at the Peter Minuit Plaza at the Battery will play host public markets, provide seating and shade and a sizable food court and information center for the public. Van Berkel is best known for his work on the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the design and restructuring of the Harbor Ponte Parodi in Genoa and the Moebius house. Handel Architects LLP will serve as associate architect, working along with the Netherlands-based UNStudio.

A gift from the Netherlands Government scheduled to open later this year, officials expect the 5,000 square-foot plaza to draw five million people yearly—it's a natural hub for transportation with crisscrossing bicycles, subway lines and buses, as well as pedestrian traffic.

It was 11 September 1609 when Hudson sailed through the river West of New York City. Dutch settlers followed, christening much of New York City's map—Breukckelen (Brooklyn) and Wall Street (De Wallen) as well as major thoroughfares such as Amsterdam Avenue.

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Activities will take place throughout 2009, commemorating the Dutch and New York connection. A "Harbor Day" celebration will take place on 13 September 2009 to commemorate Henry Hudson's arrival on the Dutch vessel "Halve Maen," which New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared an annual event. Amsterdam will host New York Nights 1-6 April 2009, exactly 400 years after Henry Hudson left the land off of the North Sea. Hudson's arrival in New York will be celebrated 8-13 April 2009.

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