Sharing the video of Zoom meeting held on May 26, 2020.

Hendrick Hamel, how I became interested and did the research on the crew who stayed 13 years in Korea in the 17th century.


Speaker: Henny Savenije

The ship the Sperwer, destined for Nagasaki, was shipwrecked on August 16, 1653 on the coast of Jejudo,. The survivors stayed in Korea for 13 years, since they were not allowed to leave. On Sep 4, 1666, 8 escaped and were captured on the Goto islands on Sep 8, 1666. From there they were brought to Dejima in Nagasaki where the Dutch had a small “factorij”.  The bookkeeper had to make a report ordered by the VOC (The Dutch East India Company). In Batavia (present day Jakarta) scribes made 6 copies of the documents to be sent to the Netherlands with 6 different ships.  Somehow 3 different publishers got hold of one of the documents and published independently 3 different (!) books.

I was always interested in the history of Asia, but never came upon books about Korea till in the 1970s I found one, you can guess, Hamel’s story. When I came to Korea in the 1990s someone had published in English a similar book which differed from the one, I had read in Dutch. THAT piqued my interest. I wanted to know which one was the real history and once back in the Netherlands I started searching for material in the vast archives of the VOC. Which cumulated in my website with more than 2000 pages. Granted, some are duplicates (English, Korean and Dutch) since I wanted to give everybody the chance to correct me or criticize my work. I have had cooperation (unwilling and willing) from many people which are named on the respective pages, but I want to mention one in particular, Jun Ueno; A Japanese with a Dutch ancestor who could read the original Korean documents and translated a lot for me. Without him I couldn’t have done that. (Before I met him, I used my knowledge of Chinese characters but that was more of a puzzle than a real translation) , I will talk about their adventures but also the way I did the research.