"Bergen County is chiefly inhabited by Dutch people. There is a peculiar neatness in appearance of their homes, having an airy stoop supported by pillars in front, and their kitchens at the ends in the form of wings. The land is good and the soil fertile; being generally advantageously cultivated. The people appear to enjoy ease and a happy competency." - Dr. Thacher passing through Bergen County in 1776.Van Allen · Bowery · Tappan · Holland Tunnel · Ackerman · Van Riper · Dutch Treat · Kinderkamack Road · Hohokus · Demarest · Paramus · Bowling · Garretson · Wychoff · Closter · Bogert · Van Wagoner · Dutch Oven · Ramsey · Dutcher · Tice · Lyndhurst · Voorbis · Hopper · Dutch Door · Westervelt · Dutch Uncle · Skating · Bergen · Dutchman's Breeches · Dutch Courage · Harlem · Cruller · Staten Island
"No people are more respected for honesty and uprightness of character than the Americans of Dutch extraction; but they are not reckoned so enterprising as the other classes of the inhabitants. There are individuals in the country even now, who can hardly speak a word of English; and Mr. Taylor, and all the clergymen of the Dutch congregations in this neighborhood, preach, at certain times, in the Dutch language." - James Stuart, Three Years in North America, 1833
Although the Dutch came to New Jersey seeking trade opportunities, agriculture quickly became more important than trade once permanent towns were mapped out in the areas west of the Hudson River. The village of Bergen was settled in 1660. It was one of the earliest permanent centers of Dutch settlement. Some who came had been farmers on Long Island, but many were recent arrivals from Europe.
Starting first in the lowlands along the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers and then moving up onto the Piedmont Plain and the Highlands, settlers hurried to clear forests to farm the rich soil.
The descendants of the first Dutch in New Jersey came to be respected as among the best farmers in the colonies. Emigration from Holland nearly ceased following the English conquest of the area in 1664, but the strong Dutch presence and agricultural prosperity already established continued under English rule. The Dutch found that they could grow virtually all of the same field crops, vegetables, fruits and livestock they remembered in the Netherlands. Many varieties of food plants came directly from their homeland.
Local conditions also encouraged the development of new varieties such as the Double Paradise apple of Bergen County and special varieties of cider apples grown in Essex and Bergen counties.
- Even today the influence of the Dutch settlers is all around us in familiar names