Brooklyn's Ancestor Being Wiped Off The Map

Where Breukelen at?

By Emily Feldman
|  Monday, Sep 21, 2009  |  Updated 2:31 PM EDT
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Brooklyn's Ancestor Being Wiped Off The Map

What would we do without Brooklyn?

Brooklynites, prepare for an identity crisis.

For years, residents of the brownstone borough could trace their hometown's roots to Breukelen, Holland -- home of modern Brooklyn's earliest settlers. But now, the Dutch town is about to merge with two neighboring villages and Breukelen will disappear into the pages of history.

This is very upsetting news for some Brooklynites, including editor of the Brooklyn Paper, who took his fight against the name-change all the way to the Dutch Prime Minister.

"What about the name?" Kuntzman asked Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum. "If the city doesn't have the name Breukelen it might be a problem for people her here in Brooklyn."

The prime minister, who was at the museum for a reception with Dutch Americans, reassured the editor that "the characteristic of such an important place as Breukelen will continue."

Kuntzman wasn't satisfied.

"Maybe the larger city could be named Breukelen," he offered.

"That's up to the people over there," Balkenende replied.

Some Dutch-Brooklynites that Kuntzman caught outside the museum expressed similar concern.

"This is a disaster -- this should not be allowed to happen," the paper quoted Jeroen Van Der Meer as saying.

Serge Onnen, also at the museum added, "it's terrible."

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