The Island is an urban game for students about the shared trading history of Amsterdam and New York City.

The game was created in 2009 in partnership with Waag Society and the John Adams Institute. The Island was part of the NY400 Festival, celebrating the fact that Henry Hudson discovered New York 400 years ago. Goal of the game was to teach students about the shared trading history of Amsterdam and NYC by connecting these students in both cities in real time. It offered students an innovative and exciting way to experience the city, work together with students on the other side of the ocean and learn from each other’s experiences in a global, urban environment. By becoming a merchant, they connected with the history that links both cities to each other.


The game starts with a short introduction. The students are divided into teams and receive a historic map of the city, a phone with internet and gps and a marketprice chart. The mobile phone leads the student to locations from Henry Hudson’s times which are now landmarks in the exciting, modern city landscapes of contemporary New York and Amsterdam. The students have to find, trade and sell goods as merchants to maximise their profit and win the game. The goal is to end up with as many guilders as possible. Offcourse local goods are worth less than foreign goods.

In May 2009, a pilot of The Island was played. On September 12th several schools in Amsterdam and New York participated in the game which was officially opened by the mayor of Amsterdam, mister Job Cohen.