New Amsterdam: Guyana’s oldest town celebrates 127 years

Guyana’s oldest town celebrates 127 years

Old Photo of New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam which is Guyana’s oldest town is presently celebrating its 127th anniversary.

The town which is located about five miles from the mouth of the Berbice River on its eastern bank is situated at the confluence of the Berbice and Canje Rivers. New Amsterdam became a town exactly 100 years before it became a Municipality and has so far had 66 Mayors.

About 1733, the name New Amsterdam was given to a little village that sprang up around Fort Nassau about 56 miles up the Berbice River. This name was chosen because most of the shareholders were from the province of New Amsterdam in Holland.  

Early Map-of-New-Amsterdam

In 1785 it was decided to abandon Fort Nassau and move to the neighbourhood of Fort St. Andries lower down the river at the confluence of the Berbice River and its tributary the Canje River which is now the site of present day New Amsterdam.

It was built by the Dutch in1740 and was first named Fort Saint Andries, before being taken over by the British in 1803.
New Amsterdam which is found some 62 miles from the capital Georgetown is one of three towns situated in the East Berbice Corentyne (Region 6) Region.

New Amsterdam covers about 13.7 square kilometers in area with an estimated population of approximately 50,000.

In 1812 a special Department of Works, the Winkel Department, was set up to deal with all repair works required by the residents. The workmen were originally slaves who were given their freedom in 1831, three years before slavery was abolished throughout the British West Indies.
Winkel has been preserved as a ward of the Town.

The Town Hall of the Tudor architecture was built with a tower approximately 75 feet. It was dismantled in 2012 due to its dilapidate state. The New Amsterdam Market which is sited below the Town Hall occupies an area of 26,400 sq. ft.

Image result for pics of new amsterdam in guyanaNew Amsterdam once generated its own electricity which was later absorbed into the larger Guyana Electricity Corporation on September 1, 1979.
New Amsterdam was established as the seat of Government for Berbice Between 1785 to 1790. The Town consists of a number of wards and has three main roads- Main Street, Strand (Water Street) and Republic (Back Dam) Road and many cross streets. The present Mayor is Ms. Winifred Haywood.

A number of activities have been planned to celebrate the 127 Anniversary of the town.

New Amsterdam Town week this year is expected to run from October 21-29, under the theme: “Celebrating with culture creativity and diversity in a clean, green town”.


Image result for pics of new amsterdam in guyana

New Amsterdam, Guyana

Travel Guyana wishes to invite you to a beautiful town called New Amsterdam that is located between the estuaries of the Berbice and the Canje Rivers that was once the administrative and military center of Berbice. This town is situated 5 miles (about 8 km) upstream and is one of the country’s largest cities with a population of about 30,000 people.

New Amsterdam, Guyana

New Amsterdam West Berbice Guyana

Similar to Georgetown, New Amsterdam had very unpretentious beginning. That is, when the Dutch had first colonized Berbice, they had built their settlements upriver, and Fort Nassau was constructed 56 miles up the Berbice River that protected the Dutch settlers against pirates. Nevertheless, the settlements were attacked on various occasions by the French and the British. In 1733, there was about 25 houses built around Fort Nassau and this town was later called New Amsterdam. Later when Fort Nassau was abandoned the village was moved to a new site but it still retained its name and became a town in 1891.

Transport in New Amsterdam also has an international port of entry and was the second largest in Guyana until in the 1970’s it was surpassed by Linden. This made it one of the largest towns in the Berbice County. Being the terminus for the Corentyne highway and the road along the east bank of the Berbice River, is an important junction for passengers and cargo which goes from the Corentyne to Georgetown. A ferry service is operated from New Amsterdam and Rosignol (the eastern terminus of the highway leading to Georgetown). New Amsterdam is the administrative capital of Berbice County with several government buildings, offices, business and educational institutions. This area is sheltered by the experiences of the north east trade winds and is approached by vessels drawing 4.4 meters across the Berbice River bar.

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