The database of the National Archives contains the names of crewmembers of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) vessels during the period 1800-1794. This includes the sailors that departed from Rotterdam who sailed with the East India Company.
The VOC was, for a long time, a successful multinational company and a trading organisation with outposts at the Cape of Good Hope and in Batavia (now Jakarta), India, China, Japan and in various locations across the Indonesian Archipelago.
The Rotterdam chamber of the Dutch East India Company, which was managed by seven governors (directors) acted as a merchant in colonial goods, shipbuilder and ship owner. The chamber of the ‘city on the Maas’ was responsible for one sixteenth of the Company’s activities, just as the other three smaller chambers of Delft, Hoorn and Enkhuizen. Amsterdam and Middelburg were larger and more important chambers, but during the eighteenth century, the chamber of Rotterdam, operating from its premises at the Oost-Indisch Huis on Boompjes in Rotterdam, became an increasingly important division within the VOC.
Many of the vessels with the Dutch East-India Company that were equipped by the Rotterdam chamber had sailed on the Maas, and the vessels were given familiar names such as Feijenoord, Charlois, Huis ten Donk, Zoelen, Blijdorp, Krooswijk, Ridderkerk and Rotterdam. During the eighteenth century, the governors of the Rotterdam chamber sent an average of two vessels per year to Asia. In the first half of the eighteenth century, an average of seven new VOC vessels of the Rotterdam chamber were built every decade in the shipyard on the Oostzeedijk. Naturally, many crew members from the same town sailed aboard these ships.