The Halve Maen (English: Half Moon) was a Dutch East India Company (VOC) vlieboot (similar to a carrack) which sailed into what is now New York harbor in September 1609. It was commissioned by the Dutch Republic to covertly find an eastern passage to China. The ship was captained by Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the service of the Dutch Republic.
In his 1625 book New World, which contains invaluable extracts from Hudson’s lost journal, Johannes de Laet, a director of the West India Company, writes that they ‘bent their course to the south until, running south-southwest and southwest by south, they again made land in latitude 41° 43’, which they supposed to be an island, and gave it the name of New Holland, but afterwards discovered that it was Cape Cod’.
From there they sailed south to Chesapeake and then went north along the coast navigating first the Delaware Bay and, subsequently, the bay of the river which Hudson named the Mauritius River, for Holland’s Lord-Lieutenant Maurits. The Halve Maen sailed up Hudson’s river as far as the present day location of Albany, New York, where the crew determined the water was too narrow and too shallow for farther progress. Concluding then that the river was also not a passage to the east, Hudson exited the river, naming the natives that dwelled on either side of the Mauritus estuary the Manahata. Leaving the estuary, he sailed north-eastward, never realizing that what are now the islands of Manhattan and Long Island were islands, and crossed the Atlantic to England where he sailed into Dartmouth harbor with the Dutch East India Company ship and crew.
Under command of Laurens Reael the vlieboot set course to the East Indies in 1611, but was destroyed seven years later during an English attack on Batavia (Jacatra).
The model was manufactured by Ir. F. Baay, who worked as the first model ship restorer of the newly established Rijksmuseum from c. 1890-1920. There are no contemporary drawings of the Halve Maen, therefore Baay had to work after scanty information from the voc-archives and the journal by Robert Juet, one of the 16 members of the Dutch-English crew.