Geert Snoeijer


During New York’s celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River, which led to the first Dutch settlement in America, Amsterdam photojournalist Geert Snoeijer ( came to New York to take portraits of some of the members of the Holland Society of New York. The portraits were for an exhibition in Amsterdam City Hall.

Members of the society trace their lineage on the male side to the first Dutch settlers before and during the year 1675 when the British invaded New Amsterdam and renamed it New York. Robert Quackenbush is a member of the society. In 2000, he was awarded the society’s distinguished achievement medal to members. He received the prestigious gold medal for distinction in art and literature. He traces his ancestry to Pieter Quackenbush who arrived in America from Holland in 1653 and settled in Albany, New York where he became a brickmaker. Pieter’s brick house still stands in Albany’s Quackenbush Square and it is one of America’s oldest homes. His great-great granddaughter, Wyn Quackenbush Mabie (Robert’s aunt five generations back) served as a messenger for General Washington during America’s Revolutionary War. Robert wrote and illustrated about her adventures in a book for young readers titled “Daughter of Liberty,” which is supplementary reading in elementary school classrooms where American history is being taught.

(painting, right) Wyn Quackenbush Mabie – “Daughter of Liberty”by Robert Quackenbush

When Geert Snoeijer came to visit Robert’s studio to take his portrait for his exhibit at Amsterdam City Hall, he asked Robert if he would mind posing before an oil painting Robert did of his illustrious ancestor Wyn Quackenbush Mabie. “No way!” said Robert jovially. “She had her turn. Now it’s my turn! I’ll let you take a portrait of me with your camera if you let me paint an oil portrait of you at the same time!” It was agreed. Here are the results of that challenge:

Both portraits are now in Amsterdam. Robert’s portrait of Geert Snoeijer hangs on the wall of the Snoeijer dining room to remind his young son, Monte, that whenever his daddy is away on an assignment “Daddy is watching” and he will return soon!

“Daddy is Watching” by Geert Snoeijer