Govert Loockermans

1612-1671

Loockermans arrived in New Netherland as a teenager and achieved great status and wealth as a merchant and "founding father" of New Amsterdam.

Episodes from his life appear in the records of both the NYC Municipal Archives and the City of Amsterdam Archives. A selection of episodes is excerpted below.

As you read about Govert Loockermans, consider the following questions, then post your reactions in the comments on our blog:

  1. Historian Willem Frijhoff has referred to Govert Loockermans as a “vigilant, cunning merchant,” a “ruthless pioneer,” and an “icon of a Wall Street capitalist.” To what extent would you agree or disagree with Frijhoff?
  2. Govert Loockermans's rise to prominence as a New Amsterdam merchants was influenced by his connection to the Verburgge family of Amsterdam merchants.  How would you describe this relationship and how did it change over time?
  3. While residing in Manhattan, Govert Loockermans seems to have been a responsible, active, engaged citizen of New Amsterdam.  To what extent was this true?  Consider the positions he held in city government and his “voluntary contributions” to the city.

>>>For more on the life of Govert Loockermans, check out this article by Willem Frijhoff, Erasmus University, Rotterdam / VU-University, Amsterdam, on the website of the New Netherland Institute.<<<