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April 2, 2011 / jmeuropeana

Cornelis de Houtman, Maria Sybilla Merian, Serge Gainsbourg

On the 2nd of April –

In 1565 Cornelis de Houtman is born, Dutch explorer and the first Dutchman to sail to the East-Indies over the sea-route that was up to then only used by the Portugese. In the end his bad temper and rude manner got him killed – he managed to upset the people of Aceh (Atje) sufficiently to provoke a full-blown sea battle, in which de Houtman was killed.
Not a very sucesfull expedition in itself – barely breaking even – but the start of the subsequent Dutch monopoly on the spice trade in the East-Indies.
Cornelis de Houtman (1565-1599), zeevaarder en ontdekkingsreiziger, voer als eerste Nederlander naar Indië
De eerste schipvaart der Nederlanders naar Oost-Indie onder Cornelis de Houtman 1595-1597. Eerste Deel.

It is also the birthday of Maria Sibylla Merian, in 1647. She was a German-born botanist and illustrator. Among other things she travelled around Surinam for about two years, studying and illustratin the exotic wildlife of the Amazonian forest.

Tabrouba-boom met boktor, palmboorder en andere insecten
More beautiful colour illustrations by Merian can be found here.

And in 1928 Serge Gainsbourg is born, composer and singer (well, sayer of words to a sort of melody – he left the singing to suffleuses (zuchtmeisjes) such as Jane Birkin):
En fumant une cigarette, SERGE GAINSBOURG chant.....

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