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HOME > Hamel Pavilion > Hamel and Netherlands > The Dutch East India Company(VOC)

Vereenighde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) is generally called the Dutch East India Company.

Netherlands found the VOC which was the first limited company in the world, integrated under national institution in 1602.
Originally, the word of the Dutch East India Company represented a company which obtained a patent for managing colonies. The English East India Company in 1600 and the French East India Company in 1664 were well-known in world history.

Since the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was given an exclusive right of foreign trade by the government along with the right of concluding a treaty with foreign countries, military formation, and appointment of government officials, it became a power group with political, economical, and military authority. In short, Netherlands equaled VOC and vice versa.

Literally, VOC was an organization where several companies were allied and merged. Six branches existed according to the company scale prior to mergence and the largest one was located in Amsterdam.

The executive body consisted of 73 members at first but decreased to 60 members later. An executive committee, called the "17 Lordships (Heeren X XII)" made final decisions. When Hamel asked for his unpaid wages for 13 years during his stay in Joseon after returning to his country, the "17 Lordships" made a decision on this matter.

European countries of those days were actively involved in a battle for the possession of colony to monopolize Asian products and secure producing centers under the mercantile system. Equally, VOC devoted all their strength to securing footholds from Cape of Good Hope to Taiwan to monopolize spicery and merchant trade in Southeast Asia. To achieve this, while having its foothold in Batavia, Java was to compete with Portugal. VOC established its branch in Hirato, Japan in 1609 and transferred to Deshima in 1641.

In particular, it held the advantage over a trade competition in several Asian areas with England and could preoccupy a trade right about Asia.

In mid-17th century, VOC was in its heydays.

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