In 2009, it was 400 years ago that Henry Hudson crossed the ocean to search for a way to sail through North America. He did not find a way through, but did discover a fertile land that was later called Albany and which we nowadays all know as New York. Waag and the John Adams Institute followed in the footsteps of Hudson, this time using mobile technology, in the educational project The Island.

The Island was a game-based adventure in which the players had to fulfill assignments together to get to the next level. By using mobile technology they participated in a trading game – online and on the streets, by finding the best deals for their goods. The game visualized the historical links between The Netherlands and the United States for pupils of secondary education, and mad eit possible to re-live the past. In innovative ways history, culture education and cultural exchange were brought together.

The stories and personages were taken from the book The island at the Centre of the World by Russell Shorto, which covers the rise of the city New York. The Island was played during the Hudson400 year in 2009. Later that year, at PICNIC Young, Waag and the John Adams Institute presented the results of the project. This day was supported by the Dutch Ministery of Education. 

The Island was supported by:

  • The municipality of Amsterdam
  • The Holland America Friendship Foundation
  • The Netherland America Foundation

Project duration

31 Dec 2008 - 29 Sept 2009



  • John Adams Institute


  • Gemeente Amsterdam