This part is translated and revised into English from the book by H.J. van Hove

On the 30th of July the jaght (nowadays the word yacht is derived from the word jaght, we will continue to use the Dutch word here, since yacht has gotten a different meaning) the Sperwer (Sparrowhawk) of the VOC (The United East Indian Company) sailed from Taiwan to Nagasaki. Under normal circumstances the jaght would have arrived at least at the end of November in Nagasaki, However it never arrived there and it never returned to Taiwan either. It disappeared without trace. As months went by, the governors of the VOC, gave up all hopes and in October the ship, its crew and its precious cargo were officially declared to be lost: "..... to all our regret, neither the flyship [ a narrow type of ship also called a flute] the Smient nor the beautiful Jacht the Sperwer didn't appear there [Japan], which was sent to Jappan on last 29th of July with a cargo of f 388819: 14: 15, that is certainly for the Company two big blows, mainly the missing of so many faithful servants as two such precious ships ..." ( Missive to the Governor Nov. 17, 1653)

Almost thirteen years later the chief of the VOC-factory in Nagasaki received the peculiar message that a number of eight Dutchmen, exotically dressed and floating in a primitive barge, was picked up by the Japanese at one of the islands of the Goto-archipelago. They would be brought to Nagasaki by the Japanese authorities as soon as possible. On the 14th of September 1666 they arrived at the docks of Nagasaki. It appeared to be a part of the crew of the lost ship the Sperwer. In a fragile Korean fishermen's boat they started off ten days before, with a risky journey to freedom, from a place at the south coast from Korea.

They told an unbelievable story. Their ship was shipwrecked thirteen years earlier off the coast of a Korean island. From the 64 persons on board, 36 survived. They were however not allowed to leave Korea, because the government wanted to keep the existence of Korea secret for the rest of the world.
The fate of the survivors had been unsteady. Sometimes they had a relative good time, but there has also been times that they had to survive by begging. Twenty of them had died in the course of years. Eventually 16 of them survived, of which these eight, after some failed attempts, succeeded to flee from the country.

The travels of Hendrick Hamel and his companions lasted from the 30th of July 1653 until the 14th of September 1666. Click on the map to see the precise location.

This is an old Map of Asia (1622). Korea is shown as an island. For more old and new maps of Tartary and Korea , click on the picture, it will take a long time to download

The crew from the Sperwer were not the first ones to set foot on Korean soil. An unknown man a Spanish priest and three Dutchmen already preceded them. The three Dutchmen stayed there. One of them was still alive during their stay in Korea, a certain Jan Janse Weltevree said to have come from De Rijp, a rather mysterious man. He claimed to be caught on the coast of Korea. But the circumstances under which this capture took place were unclear.

It was a Dutchman who wrote the first book about Korea in a European language from within the country: Hendrick Hamel, he was one of the crew members of the Sperwer. It was published in 1668 in Rotterdam and bore the title; Journal van de Ongeluckige Voyage van 't Jacht de Sperwer ( The journal of the unfortunate voyage of the jaght the Sperwer). Before him Joan Nieuhof had written about Korea, but written from the Chinese point of view.

The journal has been reprinted several times and has been translated in the beginning of the eighteenth century into English, German and French. In 1920 Hoetink took care of a scientific edition of the original text. He used the manuscript that is now in the States Archives of The Hague. Henny Savenije made a transcription in 1998 which you can find here

In the 17th century a lot of Ship journals were published. A well-known example is the Journal of Willem IJsbrandsz. Bontekoe, which was published in 1646 in Hoorn. Also Abel Tasman published such a Journal. He discovered Australia and New Zealand eleven years before Hamel and his companions landed in Korea. And though a lot of people have heard about Tasman and certainly most Dutchmen about Bontekoe, practically nobody knows the names of the explorers of Korea.

On September 11, 1998 a statue is unveiled, due to, among others this site, and efforts of a lot of other people. A replica is handed over to the city of Kangjin, near Pyongyong, where Hamel and his men lived for eight years. In the village of De Rijp, which is situated north of Amsterdam you can find a small statue of Jan Janse Weltevree next to the church, a replica can be found in Children's park at Seoul. Picture one, two, three

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The bold italics are the original Dutch words or phrases, italics are notes from me.

Italics in a frame, are original notes from the author or they are just underlined italics.

Anything underlined might also be a link

Bold , italic and underlined are things I think are remarkable, except in parts where Dutch names and notes are mixed. Big and bold are just paragraph heads.




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