Jan Willem Pieneman: The Self-Sacrifice of Pastor Antonius Hambroek on Formosa (1810)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Formosa (present-day Taiwan) was a Dutch colony from 1624–1662. During this period it became an important transit site for Dutch ships heading to different countries like Japan, Vietnam, Thailand etc. In 1661 the Ming general Zheng Chenggong (or Koxinga) launched a campaign to conquer the island. The campaign resulted in an siege of the most important Dutch fortress on the island - fort Zeelandia which lasted for about 9 months. During the siege Koxinga ordered the Dutch Pastor Antonius Hambroek to talk to Frederik Coyett, the Dutch Governor of Formosa to surrender the fort. Koxinga promised the missionary death should he return with a displeasing answer. Hambroek did talk to Frederik Coyett but instead of asking him to surrender Hambroek inspired the Dutch to stiffen their defence. Hambroek returned to Koxinga, knowing that he would be executed. This moment is shown on the painting which Koxinga did. Fort Zeelandia surrended in the end when they ran out of fresh water, ending Dutch rule over Formosa. There is a monument for Antonius Hambroek in the St. Lawrence Church in Rotterdam. This painting is from 1810