The VOC's headquarters
From 1619 to 1799 Batavia was the capital city of the Dutch East India Company, the VOC. The city, present-day Jakarta, was located on the north coast of Java, in a sheltered bay, over a flat land consisting of marshland and hills, and crisscrossed with canals. In VOC-times it had around 50.000 inhabitants. In the 18th century it would earn the nickname 'The European's Grave Yard' because of the many malaria epidemics. However, the Tijgersgracht where Abel Tasman lived, until his death in 1659, was regarded as an good place to live, as a contemporary observer writes: "Among the Grachts, the Tygersgracht is the most stately and most pleasant, both for the goodliness of its buildings, and the ornamentation of its streets, which afford a very agreeable shadow to those who pass along the street".