Nieuw-Amsterdam is a village in Drenthe, The Netherlands, bordering the village of Veenoord: Tweelingdorp (twin village), a common name for both municipalites, reflects this topographical relationship. For example, the train station was located in Veenoord, while its exit was in Nieuw-Amsterdam. Nevertheless, up to the restructuration of the municipalities in Drenthe, in 1998, both villages were separated by administrative structures. Since then, both villages are part of the municipality of Emmen.
In 1850, a group of investors from Amsterdam bought a tract of peatland and called it after their own city: Amsterdamscheveld ("field of Amsterdam"). The settlement that was built near these lands several years later, was naturally called Nieuw-Amsterdam.
The settlement developed itself quickly because of the peat trade. Drenthe therefore acquired the nickname Drents California. The only difference was that there was no gold in the ground, but peat.
Important for the development of the village was that it is situated along the canal called the Verlengde Hoogeveensevaart.
The village is located at the train track from Zwolle to Emmen. This track was opened in 1905 and was constructed by the NOLS. Before the train, Nieuw-Amsterdam already had two steam tram connections: the DSM station was opened in 1899 and the EDS station in 1903.
The "Hervormde kerk" was erected in 1873 by the architect H. C. Winters. The "gereformeerde kerk" with its paraboloidal roof was built in 1925, based on the design by architect W. van Straten. The names of both churches can be translated in English as "Reformed Church"
Most of the time Vincent van Gogh spent in Drenthe, in autumn 1883, he lodged with Scholte in Nieuw-Amsterdam. Today, Scholte's lodging house is known as the Van Gogh House (Van Gogh Huis). Recently, the municipality of Emmen planned to lay down the building, but in the last moment this decision was revised. Today, it houses a restaurant and a museum.
The Ophaalbrug in Nieuw-Amsterdam is probably the most popular work Van Gogh executed during his stay in Nieuw-Amsterdam.
Even more popular is the oral tradition accompanying Van Gogh at whatever place he stayed for a while: So, also in Nieuw-Amsterdam he is said to have paid the rent with his paintings, but the landlord could not estimate their value and burnt them.