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HOME > Hamel Pavilion > Hamel and Netherlands > Hendrick Hamel

Since Hendrick Hamel's vessel was wrecked at Jeju-do in Korea in the Joseon Dynasty (1653) due to a sudden accident, he lived there for 13 years. He is a well-known person who widely introduced Korea to Europe. But who is Hendrick Hamel?

호르큼시 하멜 생가터Surprisingly, there is little information about him. But 『The Journal of Hendrick Hamel』reports brief personal information and some of his work after he returned to Netherlands.

He was born in 1630 in Gorcum, Netherlands. According to 『Hollanders in Korea(Het Spectrum BV, 1989)』written by H. J. van Hove, his parents were DirckHamel and G. Verhaer.

호르큼시 하멜 생가터His father, Dirck Hamel got married three times. But there is no mention about his childhood. Recently, Gorchum have shown a keen interest in Hamel. It built his bronze statue and made a sign or marker at the site of his birthplace.

He became famous in Korea since he wrote a book, entitled『The Journal of Hendrick Hamel』, about his thirteen-year experience after the shipwreck in the coast of Joseon in 1653 until he escaped from Joseon. Upon his arrival in Japan he introduced Korea to VOC (Dutch East India Company) and to Western Europe.

Incidentally, Korean people's interests in Hamel and Netherlands became more apparent for two reasons: first, in 2002, the Korean national soccer team achieved the brilliant feat of making the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup Soccer under the command of Dutch coach Guss Hiddink; second, the year 2003 was the 350th anniversary of Hamel's shipwreck in Korea.

호르큼시 하멜 생가터Hendrick Hamel departed from Texel, Netherlands on Nov. 6, 1650. According to the record of Aug. 14, 1668 of『Dagregister Nagasaki』, he arrived at Batavia (now called Jakarta) as gunman of the Vogel Struijs on July 4, 1651.

After repeated quick promotion, he became a clerk and a bookkeeper in charge of service and financial management in 1653. In rank, this bookkeeper equaled the coxswain.

On June 18, 1653, he left from Batavia on board of the Sperwer for Japan via Taiwan. But, he encountered heavy seas and was finally shipwrecked in Korea, in an unknown land, at dawn of Aug. 16.

After living for 13 years and 28 days in Joseon, he escaped from Yeosu.

It is known that 『The Journal of Hendrick Hamel』was written in the island of Deshima, Nagasaki where the VOC branch was located after the arriving there in 1666. However, he may have his mates' help or hold some records they brought with them at the time of their escape from Joseon that contains their experiences in Joseon.

Although some record said that Hamel and his mates arrived in his country, Netherlands on July 20, 1668, it is known that he stayed in Batavia for some time. Probably, his help was essential for the rest of his 8 mates who remained in Korea to be sent back home. Also he assumed a heavy charge or responsibility as a bookkeeper.

At any rate, when 7 mates were sent back to Batavia by repatriation through negotiation between Korea and Japan, he left for his country with them and arrived in Netherlands in 1670.
They applied to VOC for their unpaid wages during their stay in Joseon.
On the other hand, 『The Journal of Handrick Hamel』may not just be a personal record in a sense of simple shipwreck, but an evidence of unpaid wages during their stay in Joseon.
No exact record exists after Hamel arrived in Netherlands but the『Celebrities Genealogy in Gorcum』was published in 1743.

Hendrick Hamel was an adventurer. Born in Gorcum in 1630 and died in 1692 at the Age of 62.

Why did he return to Batavia?
Why he never married?
Once again, we should think of his relevance with the history of Joseon.

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