View on Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, 1863.
View of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, 1863. The building partly hidden by the Dutch flag is the house of the Opperhoofd (カピタン), which would become the consulate general. This scene appears to be a copy of an engraving published in "Bladen over Japan" (1852), a memoir written by Opperhoofd Joseph Henry Levyssohn, who resided on Dejima from 1845 to 1851. This is therefore similar to the Dejima that Jan Hendrik Donker Curtius would have experienced. (Unattributed, engraving, The Illustrated London News, Volume XLIII, October 31, 1863, 111004-0009, MeijiShowa.)

Chief officials at Hirado and Dejima


In 1609, the Dutch were given permission to establish a permanent trading post on the island of Hirado, in the northwest of Kyushu. Although the Dutch trading post was run by the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC), a public corporation, it was empowered to conclude treaties.

The head commissioner—called opperhoofd (plural: opperhoofden) by the Dutch and kapitan by the Japanese—was therefore effectively a diplomatic representative. The opperhoofden even had to regularly make the 3-month 2,000-kilometer roundtrip to far away Edo (current Tokyo) to show their allegiance to the Shogun, Japan’s de facto ruler.

VOC-opperhoofden in Japan

1609-1613 Jacques Specx
1613-1614 Hendrik Brouwer
1614-1621 Jacques Specx (2nd period)
1621-1623 Leonard Camps
1623-1632 Cornelis van Neyenrode
1632-1633 Pieter van Santen
1633-1638 Nicolaas Koeckebakker (Couckebacker)
1639-1640 François Caron

The above is the (partially finished) suggested lay-out


  1. This list differs slightly (in years and people) from the list on Wikipedia. Compare with a reliable source.
  2. Is it OK to link the names of opperhoofden to entries on Wikipedia? Or better not?

1609-1613 Jacques Specx
1613-1614 Hendrik Brouwer
1614-1621 Jacques Specx (2nd period)
1621-1623 Leonard Camps
1623-1632 Cornelis van Neyenrode
1632-1633 Pieter van Santen
1633-1638 Nicolaas Koeckebakker (Couckebacker)
1639-1640 François Caron


In 1641, the trading post was moved from Hirado to the island of Dejima in the city of Nagasaki. The Dutch republic had by this time become the only western nation allowed to trade with Japan. Simultaneously, the Japanese government required that the opperhoofd had to be replaced annually. The VOC responded by having many of them return to Dejima, occasionally several times.

1641 Maximiliaan le Maire
1641-1642 Jan van Elserack
1642-1643 Pieter Anthonisz. Overtwater
1643-1644 Jan van Elserack (2nd period)
1644-1645 Pieter Anthonisz. Overtwater (2nd period)
1645-1646 Reinier van ‘t Zum
1646-1647 Willem Verstegen
1647-1648 Frederik Coyett
1648-1649 Dirk Snoek
1649-1650 Anthony van Brouckhorst
1650-1651 Pieter Sterthenius
1651-1652 Adriaan van der Burgh
1652-1653 Frederik Coyett (2nd period)
1653-1654 Gabriel Happart
1654-1655 Leonard Winnincx
1655-1656 Johannes Bouchelion
1656-1657 Zacharias Wagenaar
1657-1658 Johannes Bouchelion (2nd period)
1658-1659 Zacharias Wagenaar (2nd period)
1659-1660 Johannes Bouchelion (3rd period)
1660-1661 Hendrik Indijk
1661-1662 Dirk van Lier
1662-1663 Hendrik Indijk (2nd period)
1663-1664 Willem Volger
1664-1665 Jacob Gruijs
1665-1666 Willem Volger (2nd period)
1666-1667 Daniël Six
1667-1668 Constantijn Ranst de jonge
1668-1669 Daniël Six (2nd period)
1669-1670 François de Haze
1670-1671 Martinus Caesar
1671-1672 Johannes Camphuys
1672-1673 Martinus Caesar (2nd period)
1673-1674 Johannes Camphuys (2nd period)
1674-1675 Martinus Caesar (3rd period)
1675-1676 Johannes Camphuys (3rd period)
1676-1677 Dirk de Haas
1677-1678 Albert Brevinck
1678-1679 Dirk de Haas (2nd period)
1679-1680 Albert Brevinck (2nd period)
1680-1681 Isaac van Schinne
1681-1682 Hendrik Cansius
1682-1683 Andreas (Andries) Cleijer
1683-1684 Constantijn Ranst de jonge (2nd period)
1684 Johannes Besselman
1685-1686 Hendrik van Buytenhem
1686-1687 Andreas (Andries) Cleijer (2nd period)
1687-1688 Hendrik van Buytenhem (2nd period)
1688-1689 Cornelis van Outhoorn
1689-1690 Balthasar Sweers
1690-1691 Hendrik van Buytenhem (3rd period)
1691-1692 Cornelis van Outhoorn (2nd period)
1692-1693 Hendrik van Buytenhem (4th period)
1693-1694 Gerrit de Heere
1694-1695 Hendrik Dijkman
1695-1696 Cornelis van Outhoorn (3rd period)
1696-1697 Hendrik Dijkman (2nd period)
1697-1698 Pieter de Vos
1698-1699 Hendrik Dijkman (3rd period)
1699-1700 Pieter de Vos (2nd period)
1700-1701 Hendrik Dijkman (4th period)
1701-1702 Abraham Douglas
1702-1703 Ferdinand de Groot
1703-1704 Gideon Tant
1704-1705 Ferdinand de Groot (2nd period)
1705-1706 Hermanus Mensing
1706-1707 Ferdinand de Groot (3rd period)
1707-1708 Hermanus Mensing (2nd period)
1708-1709 Caspar van Mansdale
1709-1710 Hermanus Mensing (3rd period)
1710-1711 Nicolaas Joan van Hoorn
1711-1712 Cornelis Lardijn
1712-1713 Nicolaas Joan van Hoorn (2nd period)
1713-1714 Cornelis Lardijn (2nd period)
1714-1715 Nicolaas Joan van Hoorn (3rd period)
1715-1716 Gideon Boudaen
1716-1717 Joan Aouwer
1717-1718 Christiaan van Vrijbergen
1718-1719 Joan Aouwer (2nd period)
1719-1720 Christiaan van Vrijbergen (2nd period)
1720-1721 Roelof Diodati
1721-1722 Hendrik Durven
1723 Hendrik Durven (2nd period)
1723-1725 Johannes Thedens
1725-1726 Johannes de Hartog(h)
1726-1727 Pieter Boekesteyn
1727-1728 Abraham Minnendonk
1728-1729 Pieter Boekesteyn (2nd period)
1729-1730 Abraham Minnendonk (2nd period)
1730-1731 Pieter Boekesteyn (3rd period)
1732-1733 Hendrik van der Bell
1733-1734 Rogier de Laver
1734-1735 David Drinkman
1735-1736 Bernardus Coop à Groen
1736-1737 Jan van Cruys(se)
1737-1739 Gerardus Bernardus Visscher
1739-1740 Thomas van Rhee
1740-1741 Jacob van der Waeyen
1741-1742 Thomas van Rhee (2nd period)
1742-1743 Jacob van der Waeyen (2nd period)
1743-1744 David Brouwer
1744-1745 Jacob van der Waeyen (3rd period)
1745-1746 Jan Louis de Win
1746-1747 Jacob Balde
1747-1748 Jan Louis de Win (2nd period)
1748-1749 Jacob Balde (2nd period)
1749-1750 Hendrik van Homoet
1750-1751 Abraham van Suchtelen
1751-1752 Hendrik van Homoet (2nd period)
1752-1753 David Boelen
1753-1754 Hendrik van Homoet (3rd period)
1754-1755 David Boelen (2nd period)
1755-1756 Herbert Vermeulen
1756-1757 David Boelen (3rd period)
1757-1759 Herbert Vermeulen (2nd period)
1759-1760 Johannes Reynouts
1760-1761 Marten Huysvoorn
1761-1762 Johannes Reynouts (2nd period)
1762-1763 Frederik Willem Wineke
1763-1764 Jan Crans
1764-1765 Frederik Willem Wineke (2nd period)
1765-1766 Jan Crans (2nd period)
1766-1767 Herman Christiaan Kastens
1767-1769 Jan Crans (3rd period)
1769 Herman Christiaan Kastens (2nd period)
1769-1770 Olphert Elias
1770-1771 Daniel Armenault
1771-1772 Arend Willem Feith
1772-1773 Daniel Armenault (2nd period)
1773-1774 Arend Willem Feith (2nd period)
1774-1775 Daniel Armenault (3rd period)
1775-1776 Arend Willem Feith (3rd period)
1776-1777 Hendrik Godfried Duurkoop
1777-1779 Arend Willem Feith (4th period)
1779-1780 Mr. Isaac Titsing
1780-1781 Arend Willem Feith (5th period)
1781-1783 Mr. Isaac Titsing (2nd period)
1783-1784 Hendrik Casper Romberg
1784-1784 Mr. Isaac Titsing (3rd period)
1785-1786 Johan Frederik baron van Reede tot de Parkeler
1786-1787 Hendrik Casper Romberg (2nd period)
1787-1789 Johan Frederik baron van Reede tot de Parkeler (2nd period)
1789-1790 Hendrik Casper Romberg (3rd period)
1790-1792 Petrus Theodorus Chassé
1792-1798 Gijsbert Hemmij (died June 8, 1798)
1798-1800 Leopold Willem Ras (koopman)

Subsequent opperhoofden in Japan

The VOC was nationalized on January 1, 1800, but the trading post at Dejima remained in business until 1859.

1800-1803 Willem Wardenaar
1803-1817 Hendrik Doeff
1817-1823 Jan Cock Blomhoff: 6 December
1823-1826 Johan Willem de Sturler
1826-1830 Germain Felix Meijlan
1830-1834 Jan Willem Frederik van Citters
1834-1838 Johannes Erdewin Niemann
1838-1842 Eduard Grandisson
1842-1845 Pieter Albert Bik
1845-1850 Joseph Henrij Levijssohn
1850-1852 Frederik Cornelis Rose
1852-1860 Jan Hendrik Donker Curtius SOURCES: EN | NL


Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). Chief officials at Hirado and Dejima, From Dejima to Tokyo. Retrieved on April 23, 2024 (GMT) from

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