Borough President Markowitz is heading to Holland.
On Wednesday, the travel-loving, Brooklyn-boosting Beep will join a contingent of elected officials and depart for the Netherlands to mark ther 400th anniversary of the Dutch founding of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The name of the borough, in fact, is from the Dutch for “broken land” (but you knew that).
Here’s the itinerary:
Markowitz and wife Jamie Snow depart from JFK.
Markowitz and company arrive in the Netherlands and check in at the Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam before heading to Haarlem (which is actually on the West Side of Amsterdam, not uptown, which will probably be confusing to a New Yorker like Markowitz).
There’ll be a huge lunch at the Haarlem Town Hall hosted by Mayor Bernt Schneider.
After lunch, the delegation will head downtown to Lisse, a famous garden south of Amsterdam, to inspect a likeness of the Statue of Liberty comprised of 51,000 tulips. Queen Beatrix (who really would be better named Brooklyn Beatrix) will be on hand.
The Queen will name a new tulip (we’re hoping she names it “Marty”) and there will be lots of speeches. The dignitaries may talk so long that Markowitz’s talk may get cut, the itinerary indicates. The good news is that the Dutch Eagles, a Holland-based cover band, is scheduled to perform.
After that, the group will head back to Amsterdam for some well-deserved rest.
The group will start its day at the Royal Dutch Mint in Utrecht, where this important historic event will be witnessed: the striking of the Henry Hudson Commemorative Coin and the New Amsterdam coin. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, an upstate pol, will do the honors.
After coffee and tea, the group will head to Breukelen, where Mayor Ger Mik will lead a tour of the town center, including a photo-op near the Vechtbrug, the so-called “Original Brooklyn Bridge.”
There will lunch on a boat, and a return to Amsterdam for a private tour of the Anne Frank House.
After a fancy dinner, it’s lights out back at the hotel.
Now here’s a jam-packed day:
10 am: A tour of the Van Gogh Museum.
11:50 pm: A tour and lunch of the “De Waag,” the city’s oldest building.
1 pm: A tour (what, no snack?) of Amsterdam’s popular red light district.
1:45 pm: A walk to Town Hall and a meeting with Mayor Job Cohen.
2:30 pm: A meeting with the deputy mayor about the city’s new design bureau.
3:15 pm: The inevitable canal tour.
Even before departing, Markowitz was convinced that this trip would be a success.
“The Dutch were the original Brooklyn immigrants, and their influence can be felt to this day — you can see it in names like Bushwick, from ‘Boswijck’ (‘town of the woods’) to Midwood, from ‘Midwout’ (“Middle Woods”), to Coney Island, from ‘konyn’ (‘rabbit’), and Flatbush, which combines ‘vlachte’ and ‘bos’ to mean ‘flat plain with woods,’” he said.
“This will also be a perfect opportunity to meet with some of our Dutch counterparts in government to discuss other events happening in Brooklyn during this historic year, such as a commemorative event at Brooklyn Borough Hall with the Dutch government in June, a cultural exchange with the 750-year-old town of Amersfoort (the Flatlands area in Brooklyn started out as New Amersfoort), and efforts to enhance Brooklyn’s participation in the annual Five Dutch Days in the fall,” Markowitz said in a statement on Monday.
But is it a junket or a fact-finding mission? Knowing how sensitive our elected officials can be, we asked Markowitz’s office for a statement. Here’s what we got:
“This Quadricentennial celebration has many sponsors collected under the consortium name NY400,” the Beep’s spokeswoman Laura Sinagra replied. “For this trip, airfare is being handled by the Keukenhof Garden and the Dutch government. The Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam is providing lodging and breakfast. Food will be provided at some of the official events. All other meals and expenses are the responsibility of the borough president.”
©2009 Community News Group
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