VOC Sailors’ Last Days in Europe
Our new Dutch-language book, In de schaduw van de stad (Amsterdam: Ambo|Anthos 2023), which tells a series of short stories about ‘ordinary’ Amsterdammers through the ages, includes a chapter on sailors. We researched the crew members of three VOC ships that left Amsterdam in November 1775: who were they, where did they come from, where did they live or stay in Amsterdam? It was known that inns played an important role in the lives of many aspiring VOC sailors by providing a place to stay and information about finding work with the VOC. And it was also known that this was especially true for migrants. But we were surprised when…
English Seamen in the VOC
We recently wrote an article about English sailors in the service of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). They made up only a tiny fraction of the crews: during the eighteenth century, less than 1% of crew members came from England. This is a small number compared to, in particular, the Germans and Scandinavians. But this is explicable: the English economy offered plenty of jobs and high wages, so there was little reason for English sailors to come to the Republic. Moreover, Englishmen who sought an East Indian adventure would have been more inclined to join the English East India Company. It is precisely because of their small numbers that…
VOC Data Experience
We have frequently written on this site about our research on the crews of the VOC. In the VOC Data Experience, this data now comes to life with spectacular visualisations in augmented reality (AR). Click on the image below to watch the trailer. Six experiences in AR The VOC Data Experience starts with a cloud of names of hundreds of thousands of crew members of the Company’s ships. More information is available about each of these individuals. There are also six thought-provoking experiences. In each of these, a theme is highlighted using original data from the VOC. Data expert Lodewijk Petram, together with different heritage specialists or researchers, explain and…
Where the VOC crews came from
The pay ledgers of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) are an important data source for our projects (we tell more about this source in this blog post). The following dynamic heatmaps give a good impression of the regions where the sailors on board of the ships headed for Asia originated. For clarity reasons, crew members from one of the six VOC towns (Amsterdam, Delft, Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Middelburg and Rotterdam) were excluded from these maps.