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Gerard Reynst

Portrait of Gerard Reynst

Gerard Reynst (Amsterdam, ? – Jakarta, 7 December 1615) was a Dutch merchant, father of a museum curator, and later the second Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.


All that is known of his early years is that he was born in Amsterdam, the son of Pieter Rijnst (1510-1574), soap boiler, and Trijn Sijverts. In 1599 he became a merchant and ship-owner, as well as a founder-member and administrator of the Nieuwe or Brabantsche Compagnie which, in 1600, became the Vereenighde Company of Amsterdam. This company then in 1602 merged into the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

On the request of his elders in the college of the Heren XVII (17 men), he became Governor-general of the Dutch East Indies in 1613 and left with 9 ships. The trip lasted 18 months, after which he took over command from Pieter Both. On the way, he had already sent one of his ships to the Red Sea to start trade relations with the Arabs there. He died more than a year after arrival, having caught dysentery so that he could do little there, besides a few minor activities that were only intermittently successful.


In 1588 in Haarlem Reijnst married Margriet Niquet, daughter of the wealthy merchant and art-collector Jean Niquet (1539-1608) from Antwerp. At his death, Reijnst left his wife, who had accompanied him to the East Indies, with seven children. The younger of these she raised with her brother Jacques Nicquet, who was an art-collector as well. Among their children were the art-collecting brothers Gerard and Jan (1601-1646). His daughter Weijntje became the mother of the merchant Isaak Isaaksz Coymans (1622-1673), one of the founders of the Danish West India Company.


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