10 October 2017

A life at sea

A sailor's resume

Abel Tasman (1603-1659) was an experienced sailor in the service of the VOC who from 1639 onwards was sent on various expeditions in the East Indies. He was born in Lutjegast,  a small village in the province of  Groningen. He started as an ordinary sailor, but proved his skills and quickly moved up to skipper. In 1633 he was hired by the VOC. In 1636 he decided to move to 'the East', together with his wife and daughter. Having gained the trust of his fellow skippers and the VOC, in 1642 he was entrusted with the ambitious expedition to the Southland. 

In 1644 Tasman led a second expedition, in search of a possible passage between New Guinea and the known Southland. While he didn't find the passage, he did chart the Australian north coast. When Van Diemen died in 1645, the era of the VOC expeditions came to an end. An incident in 1648 would mark the end of Tasman's career with the VOC. 

Traces of Tasman in the Netherlands

Abel Tasman has his own museum in his hometown Lutjegast: Abel Tasman Museum

Opening on November 24 2017 and until the 18th of Februari 2018 the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum in Groningen hosts the exhibition "Abel Tasman. Aan boord van de Heemskerck" (Welcome on board of the Heemskerck). English language guide available.