Fine Art and Antiques
In the Kunstkammer on the corner of the Keizersgracht Nieuwe Spiegelstraat, you will find works of art from far away shores, Victorian scientific taxidermy displays and much more antiques that tell an impressive story and are appealing to the eye.
Cabinets with compass-roses that are to some extend inlaid with ebony and ivory are known, but the extensive decoration in this cabinet is unheard off.
This cabinet reminds us of the highly interesting fight for power in Jakarta (Batavia). For after the death of Governor-general Mattheus de Haan in 1729, Durven was elected his successor. However, by surpassing a few older members of the Council with his election, Durven made enemies amongst them.
In addition to this bad start for Durven, the Directors in Amsterdam felt that they were losing control over Jakarta (Batavia). However, during Durven’s the drop in moral standards and rise of corruption in Jakarta (Batavia) reached an all-time high. In order to clarify that Jakarta (Batavia) and VOC there still had to abide rules and policies created in Amsterdam and that corruption was not tolerated in any way, a scapegoat was needed for the malfunctioning of the colonial government. On the 9th of October 1731 a stunning decision was made that shook the Netherlands and the claimed overseas territories; Governor-general Diederik Durven, his director-general Cornelis Hasselaar, two members of the Council of India, were recalled to the Netherlands.
They had to return to the motherland immediately “zonder gagie of eenig commando” (without payment or rank) and became the chief offenders for corruption and decline of the VOC in the East and their dismissal was to be a clear warning.