Nicolaes Witsen

1641 - 1717

About the artist

Nicolaes Witsen (8 May 1641-10 August 1717) was a Dutch statesman who was mayor of Amsterdam thirteen times, between 1682-1706. Initially, administrator of the VOC, he was appointed an extraordinary ambassador to the English court in 1689. He also became a member of the Royal Society in London. In his spare time, he was cartographer, maritime writer and an authority on shipbuilding. His books on the subject are significant sources on Dutch shipbuilding in the 17th century. In addition, he was an expert on Russian affairs. In his study Noord en Oost Tartarye (North and East Tartary) he described Siberia, Far East and Central Asia for the first time. It was published in Amsterdam in 1692.