Hendrick Hamel

Hendrick Hamel (1630 in Gorinchem - February 12, 1692 in Gorinchem) was the first Westerner to write about the Joseon Dynasty era in Korea (1666). Hendrick Hamel was a bookkeeper with the Dutch East India Company (the VOC). In 1653, while heading for Japan on the ship 'De Sperwer' (the Sparrowhawk), he was shipwrecked on Jeju Island off the southern coast of Korea along with thirty-five of his crewmates. 36 of the 64 members of the crew survived the shipwreck, and the men were promptly taken into custody and sent to Seoul. They were forbidden to leave the country, but they were given some freedom to move and mix with the different classes of Korean society. After thirteen years, Hamel and seven of his crewmates managed to escape to Japan, and from there to the Netherlands. In 1666, three different publishers published his report, describing their improbable adventure and giving the first detailed and accurate description of Korea to Europe.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Amsterdam Canal Ring During Hamel's time the Canal Ring Area was developing and expanding rapidly. On Hamel's return his accounts of Korea were published in Amsterdam causing a sensation
Changdeokgung Palace Complex Hamel visited court numerous times to entertain or speak to King Hyojong the 17th Ruler of Joseon
Jeju Hamel and his crew were shipwrecked on Jeju-do in August 1653 and left the following year in June. "There is a high mountain, full with trees and further there are mainly bare mountains without any trees and many valleys where they cultivate rice." The Journal of Hendrick Hamel
Namhansanseong Because Joseon did not inform the Qing Dynasty about the 36 Dutch survivors of a shipwreck and did not want to explain the reason of their stay in Seoul, Hamel and his mates were moved to Namhansanseong in the suburb of Seoul and they were kept on a close watch
Wadden Sea Hamel set out on his journey to the Far East from Texel, part of the Islands in the Wadden Sea


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