The Dutch United East India Company in Amsterdam

A high quality 1.5 hour guided walk


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The Dutch United East India Company in Amsterdam, VOC. Ships Heading Towards the Far East: Adventure, Battle, Illness, Punishment, Pleasure, Thirst and Work.



Adventure on voyage to the East (Asia) and the West (Americas). Five major steps by the VOC in 1650:
1. New sailors and soldiers drummed up and shanghaied, deep in debt, awaiting departure in a terrible, dirty inn.
2. VOC Establishing Order and discipline. Repeatedly taking oaths on VOC and inculcate obedience.
3. Five, six hard years overseas. Risk of illness, accidents, death. Violence, repression of natives.
4. Returning as wealthy princes, and then in a few weeks all earned money was quickly spent on Wine, Woman and Song. Especially Women.
5. For slow learners: restart at 1.





Interior courtyard of the United East India Company - VOC, Amsterdam.


July 2013: Ricardo N and his wife Francis S. live in New York City and are full-time NYC art aficianados, travelling the world and visiting most of the fine art centers in Europe.

In June-July 2013 they toured for three full days with Drs Kees Kaldenbach.

Ricardo: "I would rate you as terrific. It is a great treat being with you - You saved my life in showing me the Mauritshuis collection - I thought it was completely closed!"

Francis N.: "Kees is outstanding... he has a very rare gift among any the great number of professional tour guide we met in our lifetime... in presenting a deep and very specific art history knowledge, and in combining this with passion and and easy going presentation.
My husband and I have spent our lives in the art world of NYC and the West Coast. We have rarely met such a wonderful guide. Kees is an outstanding fountain of visual knowledge and historic insight. He truly is top class within the field of Western art history!"


The Amsterdam VOC history.

Well researched, with eye witness texts, told on the right spot in the city. Scientifically sound, entertaining, fun, enticing, a tour with Drs. Kees Kaldenbach*

Complete Listing of tours

Maritime Museum / Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam

Walking tour and boat trip. Theme: The Dutch United East India Company (VOC)

The centre of Amsterdam boasts living history with its Dutch United East India Company (VOC), that was active between ca. 1600 -1800. It was the very first multinational and the first stock-issuing company in the world. Just like a sovereign state, the VOC had its own army.
It was rough capitalism with big money made, lots of violence, monopolies, and many men in beautiful business suits, preferably filling their own pockets.
The VOC gave the common man the chance to travel to far away places. The plus points were adventure, battle, and pleasure, but there was also disease, hardships, punishment and thirst.
Upon returning to their home harbour after some six years of contract work, these soldiers and sailors turned into real ‘Gentlemen for Six Weeks’, during a period of excessive pleasure. We also discuss the trade on the western shores, in the West India Company, first settling in New Amsterdam and then in Surinam.

Example page of my research to get to the exact address in town, for the banker Widow Borski. Another faboulous career, rags to richess, the highly racist: Rijcklof van Goens.

This is an in-depth excursion of high quality, covering a good deal of the centre of Amsterdam. On a variety of locations you will hear many tales about events - and quotes from people from that day and age who wrote diaries and letters.
First you will take a walking tour of about an hour and a half. For the last part of the excursion, you then board a historic ship, a veritable floating monument, designed with glass roofs and perfect views. Coffee or thee and cake are served on the ship, included in the price of the tour.  Other bites to eat and beverages are of course also available. 

Tour given by art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach, of Private Art Tours, Amsterdam. Kaldenbach has been featured on both Dutch national and international television including NPS Dutch National TV, BBC2. BBC3, Japanese TV. and was interviewed by CNN in Atlanta, Georgia. (In case of sickness he will be replaced).


Language: English, Dutch.

Date and time of tours: on demand.

Dutch text version.



A tour or lecture with the theme Amsterdam - Bankers - Casanova

walk on the United East India Company theme

walk on the Women of Amsterdam theme

walk on the Rich and the Painters theme

Complete Listing of tours

Below: Hammock on a ship to the Indies.





Spotting the Rich & Famous inhabitants in the Golden Age.

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Below: United East India Company Map room. There were public maps and highly secret maps.

Information technology nerve center at Oude Hoogstraat: The secret off-limits atlas, globe and map room at VOC HQ where maps made on parchment and handed out to captains were received, processed and updated. This was the secret 'situation room' taking care that the VOC had the best possible map and route information.


List of medication assembled in a chest aboard a VOC ship. The surgeons department was also situated at Oude Hoogstraat, and exams were held there as well.

Powerpoint presentation of Amsterdam.
Powerpoint presentation of Athens.
Powerpoint presentation of Barcelona.
Powerpoint presentation of Berlin.
Powerpoint presentation of Copenhagen.
Powerpoint presentation of Florence.
Powerpoint presentation of Helsinki.
Powerpoint presentation of Istanbul.
Powerpoint presentation of Naples.
Powerpoint presentation of Rome.
Powerpoint presentation of Split.
Powerpoint presentation of Stockholm.
Powerpoint presentation of St. Petersburg, Russia.
Powerpoint presentation of Venice
Menu presentation of walks and museum visits in Towns in Holland.



As an art historian based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, I can meet you in Amsterdam for a personalized guided tour of art museums and the historic center.

Together we will experience the beauty and history. Enjoy yourself and learn about history while strolling and discussing the country's history, art and culture. In doing so, we may touch a number of bases - spanning not only fine art and architecture but also the city's history and current social issues. See client testimonials.

Read a Kaldenbach biography.

Complete Listing of tours

Starting at your hotel I will take you on a wonderful private cultural walking tour of your choice. My guided itinerary offers you accessable informative conversation in English, Dutch, or German (my French and Italian are more limited).

See Amsterdam in 1842 (Map with dots indicating where the high and mighty lived in Amsterdam, in the seventeenth century)

You may also arrange this VIP treatment for business contacts or friends. Our cultural tour organisation office will take care of a unique and memorable experience.

Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours" *.

*Martha Gellhorn, Travels with Myself and another, p. 182.


Research presented in November 2014 about Mannheimer: he almost bought the best Vermeer: The Art of Painting (now in Vienna)



The Rijksmuseum has done me the honor of linking the main Rijksmuseum site to my website. Start at and select Collection. Then choose 'Digital Collaboration' and the 'Digital Vermeer House'.

I conduct Rembrandt walks in Amsterdam for the Netherlands Bureau of Tourism, London and New York City offices. Their clients include important journalists.

The travel site has devoted a main feature to my tours and walks.

Read further client testimonials.


About Drs. Kees Kaldenbach:

Read a biography.

Drs. Kees Kaldenbach has been featured in television and radio documentaries, including BBC2 TV, NTV Japan, Danish TV and Radio Netherlands World Service. In July 2004 he was interviewed about Delft artists by Tetsuya Tsuruhara for the leading Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun. In 2004 and 2005 he acted in an advisory role to additional BBC teams. Kaldenbach has written extensively on Vermeer and 17th century Delft, on Vincent van Gogh and on other art history topics.

Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours".

Further information is available on his encyclopedic web site:


Contact information:

Drs. Kees Kaldenbach ,

Haarlemmermeerstraat 83 hs

1058 JS Amsterdam

The Netherlands

telephone 020 - 669 8119 (from abroad NL +20 - 669 8119)

cell phone 06 - 2868 9775 (from abroad NL +6 - 2868 9775)


Reaction, questions? Read client testimonials.

Open seven days a week.

Member of the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel).


Email responses and bookings to art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach.

This page forms part of the 2000+ item Vermeer web site at

Updated November 14, 2014. Updated 17 february 2017.