Amsterdam and New York: 400 Years

Project Background:
The Huygens College is a modern high school in the center of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Our students come from diverse backgrounds and are between the ages of 12 to 17 years old. Many of our students are born in The Netherlands to immigrant families from Morocco, Turkey, Eastern Europe, and East Asia.

Under the guidance of their teachers and video-artist in Amsterdam, the Dutch students will use video to start a creative investigation into their own prejudices and stereotypes about American culture. Their views on America are determined largely by rapid MTV music videos, action films and advertising images in which a black and white picture of American society is shown. We hope that an online exchange with NYC students and interaction with a NYC-based video artist/art educator will help provide them with an authentic insight and creative peek into American culture. The videos will be very personal self-portraits, music videos, documentary, whatever form the students decide to choose.

The year 2009 marks the 400-year historical link between the Netherlands and New York when a Dutch ship led by Henry Hudson, left many Dutch remnants in New York to this day. Harlem-Haarlem, Brooklyn-Breukelen to name a few. To celebrate this historical joint heritage, the city of Amsterdam is sending 20 of our students to New York to create their own videos about their impression of New York.

The project lasts from January until the end of April 2009.

Search for NYC peers (13-15 years old):
The Huygens College is searching for a fellow group of students in New York to participate in an online exchange project by e-mail, websites, video letters, and videoconference. There will be two classes of 20 Dutch students (40 in total) who are in their first year (13 years old) and have just started learning English. The goal of this project is to have the Dutch students interact with NYC students to help them learn to communicate in English with native speakers over email and share video diaries once every 3 weeks about their growing up experiences.

The video curriculum and exchange will begin January 2009 and continue until the finale of the exchange when 20 selected students will visit New York from April 22nd to April 29th, 2009. The students will come to NYC to work with a local NYC video artist and with their NYC peers to continue shooting video to develop their project and show their views on American culture.


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