Joan Maetsuycker

Joan Maetsuycker
Joan Maetsuycker, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Painting by Jacob Jansz. Coeman in the Rijksmuseum
3rd Governor of Zeylan
In office
24 March 1646 – 26 February 1650
Preceded by Jan Thyszoon Payart
Succeeded by Jacob van Kittensteyn
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies
In office
Preceded by Carel Reyniersz
Succeeded by Rijcklof van Goens
Personal details
Born 14 October 1606
Amsterdam, Dutch Republic
Died 24 January 1678
Batavia, Dutch East Indies

Joan Maetsuycker (14 October 1606 – 24 January 1678) was the Governor of Zeylan during the Dutch period in Ceylon and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1653 to 1678. He was appointed as Governor of Zeylan on 24 March 1646 and was governor until 26 February 1650. He was succeeded by Jacob van Kittensteyn.[1]

Maetsuycker studied law in Leuven, and was a lawyer first in The Hague, and later in Amsterdam. From 1636, he lived in the Dutch East Indies. In 1646 he became the third Dutch governor of Zeylan, and seven years later, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. He stayed on that post for 25 years, which is the longest period for any governor-general. The Dutch colony in the Indies flourished under Maetsuycker. Under his rule, the Portuguese lost Ceylon (1658), the coast of Coromandel (1658) and Malabar (1663); Makassar was conquered (1667), the west coast of Sumatra was occupied, and the first expedition to the interior of Java was held.

In 1663 his wife, Haesje Berckmans, died. In 1664, he married the 24-year-old Elisabeth Abbema, daughter of the preacher Fredericus Abbema and widow of Simon Cos, governor of Ambon. In 1671 the splendour-loving Elisabeth rose some controversy when she had gold coins imported from Japan, outside the VOC. Her aim was to have her brother-in-law in Suratte buy them.


  1. ^ Cahoon, Ben. "Dutch Governors". Worldstatesmen. Retrieved 1 March 2013.