Johannes van Vugt











Hendrick Hamel was the first Westerner to write about the Joseon Dynasty era in Korea (1666).

Hendrick Hamel was born in Gorinchem and he died in Gorinchem.


He was a bookkeeper with the Dutch East India Company (the VOC).


In1653, while heading for Japan on the ship De Sperwer, he was shipwrecked on Jeju Island off the southern coast of Korea along with thirty-five of his crewmates.

36 of the 64 members of the crew survived the shipwreck, and the men were promptly taken into custody and sent to Seoul. They were forbidden to leave the country, but they were given some freedom to move and mix with the different classes of Korean society.


After thirteen years, Hamel and seven of his crewmates managed to escape to Japan, and from there to the Netherlands.


In 1666, three different publishers published his report, Hendrick Hamels Journal describing their improbable adventure and giving the first detailed and accurate description of Korea to Europe.


Johannes van Vugt made a visual interpretation of this Journal. He created paintings, drawings, objects and video.


The works are focussed on an imaginary life. It is an imaginative story and the subject is not just a private matter. The work has different angles, which makes it universal. This can be recognized for the beholder who is challenged to make an own interpretation.