The Dutch East India Company was established in 1602 to compete with the Portuguese in regard to trade with Southeast Asia.
Over the next two centuries the Netherlands nearly eclipsed all its rivals in the lucrative Asian trade. Similarly, the Dutch West India Company was founded in 1621 to operate in the Americas, the Caribbean, and South Africa. Many botanists, physicians, geographers, and other scientists travelled alongside the merchants dispatched by both Companies on expeditions to these exotic lands.
Their mission was to report on the distant countries as well as to find and describe new commodities with potential interest for commercial ventures. In consequence, much information on newly discovered or colonized areas was issued in print during this era. Due to the excellent quality of typography at Dutch printing houses, works published in the Netherlands on overseas geography, botany, zoology, etc., often represented the peak of period book production.
The new temporary exhibition shows two 17th-century publications compiled by renowned Dutch naturalists who both travelled to far lands. The books are illustrated with numerous engravings introducing exotic animals and plants to the European public.
You can visit the exhibition until 31 May 2016.Back