Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002
From: Oscar Hefting <>
RE: [MapHist] "Unexamined" VOC records

Dear Mr. Michael Ross,

We got this information from Joep de Koning, from the Historic New Netherlands Project. Please can you inform us about this thesis and all other information about Dutch exploration your have. Hereby I send you some attached information about the MOWIC Foundation (in english and Dutch), working on 17th cemtury Dutch exploration in the Atlantic.

Regards Oscar Hefting,
Secretary MOWIC Foundation
As well on behalf of Mrs. Hannedea van Nederveen Meerkerk, President MOWIC e-jornal, 1-st ed




E-journal, 1st ed., no. 1, English version

A Dutch and Portuguese version are available.







MOWIC is a non-profit organisation, founded on the 27 of September of the year 2000 and registered at the Chambers of Commerce in Amsterdam.


PATRON is Prof. Dr Ir C.L. Temminck Groll, emeritus professor of architecture at the Technical University Delft.


For the logo, designed by Carien van den Honert, the logo-gram of the Registered West India Company (GWC/  WIC) has been used. Herewith MOWIC expresses it's engagement with the history of the WIC (1621-1791) and with it's still found remains. Also,  the skyline of Mauritsstad-Recife can be seen, derived from the beautiful illustration by the hand of Frans Post. It was drawn in 1647 for the biography by Caspar van Baerle (Barlaeus), of Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen, who functioned as a governor of Dutch-Brazil from 1636-1644.


On 9 October 2000, the MOWIC Foundation has been presented in Her Majesty's Palace Noordeinde in The Hague by the founders, Oscar F. Hefting , M.D., and Mrs. Hannedea C. van Nederveen Meerkerk, Ph.D., on the occasion of the visit to The Netherlands of His Excellency the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Dr Fernando Cardoso and his spouse, Dona Ruth, a professor of Sociology herself.





The General Board of the MOWIC consists of persons known for their interest in and knowledge of the history of the WIC.

- Mrs. Hannedea C. van Nederveen Meerkerk, Ph.D, president. She wrote her thesis on 'RECIFE. The rise of a 17-th century trade-city from a cultural-historical perspective' (Technical University Delft, 1988).

- Mr. Oscar F. Hefting, M.A., secretary, archaeologist at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), together with Dr van Nederveen author of the Report on the Archaeological Identification Mission Brazil, according to final report model HGIS-C, on behalf of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, Culture and Science, Amsterdam, 1999.

- Mr Frank Bracht, M.A. Law, treasurer, partner of DELOITTE & TOUCHE, TAX LAWYERS

- Prof. Dr Geert. A. Banck, general member of the Board, teaching in the anthropology of Brazil

- Mrs. Louise Westermann, M.A., general member of the Board, biologist and expert on the history of the Caribbean Islands.


The secretariat of MOWIC is located at the secretary's residence:

Prinsengracht 961 f, 1017 KL, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tel. / Fax *31-20-4221791 e-mail: <>




 The Council of Advice consists, like the General Board, of persons who in some way are or have been involved with the history of the WIC.

- Mr. F.J. Duparc, Ph.D., Director of the Mauritshuis Museum, The Hague

- Mr. Prof. Dr J.J.M. Franse, Magnificent Rector of the UvA

- Mr. C.P. de Haseth, M.A., Authorised Minister of the Netherlands Antilles Islands

- Mr. B.H. Hylkema, M.A., Former- Director Philips Brazil

- Mr. M.A.M. Ornstein, M.A., Former- Director AKZO Brasil

- Mr. J.J.N. Rost Onnes, Advisor of the managing Board of ABN-AMRO Bank Ltd.

- Mr. R.W.L. Russell, M.A., Lawyer at Amsterdam and Honorary Consul of Brazil in The Netherlands

- Prof. Dr H.J.L. Vonhoff, Politician and historian.



MOWIC stimulates and promotes the scientific research, and the conservation of monuments of the WIC (1621-1791). This considers objects of a military as well as a commercial or civil background. In this way, MOWIC contributes to a better understanding of the influence of the WIC on the history of the Atlantic (Europe, North- and South-America, and West-Africa).

 The WIC monuments are fortresses and other architectural constructions erected in The Netherlands as well as on the coasts of West-Africa and Latin- and North-America, inclusive the Caribbean territories. In addition, there are many historical objects and remnants and rests, spread out over many different places, like maps, atlas, diaries, journals, ships, furniture, utilities and works of art. In a concrete way, MOWIC endeavours to realise its engagement with the WIC's history by  promoting of and participating in conservation and restoration of constructions and objects.


3.1. MOWIC tries to realise this goal by initiating and maintaining activities as well as by co- operating with organisations and institutions with the same aims.


3.2. These initiations and activities can consist of:

a. gathering documentation of, and carrying out research on the specific monuments from this period (1621- 1791);

b. stimulating scientific research (both historical and archaeological) in the specific areas, with the purpose of contributing to the knowledge and conservation of those monuments;

c. informing a larger audience by publications, organising lectures, conferences, guided tours, etc.;

d. fund raising;

e. advising institutes or individuals about the conservation of WIC monuments and objects as to the methods and choices there have to be made;

f. if necessary, obtaining in possession on loan of objects or parts, thereby assuring their proper maintenance, also by exposing them to the public and looking after legal protection;

g. the use of other legal ways leading to the realisation of the named aims. De foundation functions in co-operation with the Dutch government, and those of provinces, districts, towns and water boards, and with all other legal institutions and individuals, involved in the goals of the foundation.







4.1 Finance

For its finances, MOWIC is dependent upon contributions from the government and private sectors. Also, the members of the Board will organise lectures and other reunions like symposia, that will provide income for the foundation. A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, which will be organised the Board, will take over these tasks in the near future. A yearly report on behalf of the Circle of Friends will be published by Board and Friends together.


4.2 Donations

Corporate bodies can be donators, and individuals can be supporters  of the foundation. Donations to MOWIC, being a non-profit organisation, are fiscally deductible.


4.3 Scientific sources

MOWIC acquired the Collection Lancker. This is a accumulation of documents collected by Mr. A.F. Lancker of nearly all fortresses and military settlements, built by the Dutch all over the world.

The collection consists of articles and pictures in newspapers and magazines. A selection of which was published by the author as the 'Atlas van historische forten Overzee onder Nederlandse Vlag' (Atlas of historical fortresses Overseas under the Dutch Banner). The Collection Lancker is stored in the Library of the Zoological Museum of the UvA, where the MOWIC also holds its meetings, and, after an appointment, is accessible to the public.





For the starting point of its activities MOWIC will concentrate on the restoration project of Fort Orange on the Island of Itamaracá, situated about 50 km North of the town of Recife, in the State of Pernambuco. In the year 1630 the WIC, at the costs of Portugal, conquered that part of Brazil called 'o Nordeste'` the Northeast. To protect the colonisation activities. in a short period of time, a circle of fortresses and redoubts was constructed by soldiers in Dutch service, among them Fort Orange (1631), originally erected from wood and clay. During the government of Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679; gov.1636-1644) the fort has been reinforced with stone and brick. In later times the Portuguese built a stone enclosure and a huge entrance pediment. Over the years, Fort Orange received several names, but in the people's memory the name of 'Fort Oranje' remained it is generally known as 'Forte Orange'.


On its terra-plains of which some fourteen canons chaotically remain, partially hidden by the sand. The fort is severely threatened by the sea. By recent environmental and geographical changes, the water along the coast changed, thereby causing an erosion of that part of the island on which Fort Orange is situated.










Nowadays for several hours in the afternoon, the fort is laying with the southern wall inside the water and in times of spring tide it even will be completely surrounded by it, causing damage to bastions and walls. The situation, however, is by no means hopeless. There are great expectations for saving this object of 'Mutual Cultural Heritage', thanks to the co-operation and support of Dutch and Brazilian authorities, cultural institutions, the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) and the UvA, as well as that of commercial enterprises with ties in both The Netherlands and Brazil.




6.1 History

The Fort Orange Project was extensively discussed in the Report of the Identification Mission for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1999), and ever since promoted by the later founders of MOWIC. From that very beginning, MOWIC experienced approval and support from the UFPE, the UvA, the Dutch Embassy at Brasília, ICOMOS NEDERLAND and the State Service for Monument Care (RDZM).


In February of the year 2000 the future founders of MOWIC were invited to join the integral Conference for International Mutual Heritage, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science, "Van DODO naar GEO" at the Royal Institute for the Tropics (KIT), in Amsterdam. During this conference Brazil was added to the official 'areas of attention', an occasion for Mr. Martinus Mertens, Cultural Assessor to the Dutch Embassy in Brasília, to place Fort Orange in the national and international spotlights.


In the month of April of that year they were invited to highlight the Fort Orange Project to the former Mayor of Recife, Dr. Roberto Magalhães, visiting his counterpart Mr. Schelto Patijn, Mayor of Amsterdam for the signature of a contract for economic and cultural co-operation between the two cities. A similar co-operation contract has been signed later that year, by the Rectores Magnifici of the universities of Amsterdam and Pernambuco in August.


In the autumn, several meetings were held by MOWIC in Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília with FADE, UFPE, ICMN, the Brazilian Service for the Conservation of Monuments (IPHAN), the Department for Cultural Affairs of the Brazilian Army (DAC) , the Directors of PHILPS-LATIN AMERICA and BOMPREÇO (AHOLD), as well as with the Instituto Cultural Maurício de Nassau (ICMN), located in Recife, PE.

There also was an informal meeting with the Cultural Attaché of the Portuguese Embassy in Brasília, on instigation, and in the presence of the First Secretary of the Dutch Embassy, Drs. Robert-Jan Sieben.


In the month of June 2001 the State of Pernambuco decided to subsidise the Fort Orange Project, structuring its contribution with FADE (the Administrative Office of the UFPE) .










6.2 Structure of the project

The Fort Orange Project consists of four parts or Phases:

Phase 1. protection of the location of the fort against the erosion from the sea;

"         2: archaeological research;

"         3: restoration of the damaged parts, in which process the archaeological results will be


"         4: implementation of an economical framework for the use of the fort after the                 restoration.


A planar conference on the subject has been organised by FADE (after preparatory meetings by MOWIC, see 6.1), on the 12th and 13th of December 2000 on the island of Itamaracá. It resulted in a pledge for co-operation between the participants IPHAN, UFPE, Municipality of Itamaracá, FUNDARPE (Federal foundation for artistic projects in Pernambuco, Dutch Embassy, ICMN and MOWIC); and the formation of a Conselho Curador (Council of Curators).


ad Phase 1: UFPE and FADE have estimated budgets. Recently, the most simple and less costly method has been agreed upon by UFPE, FADE and the Municipality of Itamaracá.


ad Phase 2: MOWIC, UvA and UFPE have estimated budgets for the archaeological excavations, as well for the research of the water-well, the horn-works, and some sites outside the fortress, asking in April for financial support from the HGIS-C Commission of the Dutch Government. The final decision on this request can be expected to be expected in the beginning of September.


ad Phase 3: The architectural office of Prof. Dr. José Luiz da Mota Menezes has provided sketches and calculations of the walls and other parts in needing restoration. The final calculation of these budgets are under concern of the eventually incorporation of the results of Phase 2.


ad Phase 4: A team consisting of members of FADE, IPHAN and the Dutch Embassy, is working on a plan to establish a Cultural Centre and a Museum in Fort Orange after its restoration.


ad 3 and 4: At the end of September or the beginning of October, a so-called 'Pledging Conferende' will be held in Recife or São Paulo, to be organised by FADE and the Dutch Embassy, and chaired by PHILIPS-Latin America. MOWIC will be presented as well.


MOWIC has contacts with UNESCO about the possibility of listing Fort Orange as a World Monument.












Other Projects of MOWIC are:

1. Co-operation with the Programa Científico e Cultural Alagoas-Holanda of the Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL) at Maceió, AL.

It entails an extension of the study program of the UFAL students. The Rector Magnificus of the UFAL assigned it officially, in the presence of a representative of the Dutch Embassy in Brasília and the ICMN. The Programa includes research, publications and lecturers on subjects about the Dutch Period of Brasil, with an accent on the historical facts and sites in Alagoas (in former times 'Pernambuco of the South').

2. Mentorship of Dutch students with studying subjects.

At the moment there is one student preparing a thesis on the history of Penedo and Fort Maurits (1637). The Brazilian Ministery for Cultural Affairs subsidises the trip from Amsterdam to Maceió, Recife and Rio de Janeiro.

3. Mentorship of Brazilian students wanting to learn the Dutch language, and/ or WIC subjects.

            The Brazilian Ministry of Culture seeks to establish a professorial chair of Dutch at the University of Pernambuco in Recife (UFPE).

4. Commemoration in the year 2004 of:

a) the 400th Birthday of Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen (18-06-2004).

An international conference and an exposition will be prepared in co-operation with the Universität der Stadt Siegen, the 'Amsterdams Historisch Museum', 'Het Mauritshuis' in The Hague and the 'Westfries Museum' in Hoorn.


b) the End of the Dutch Period in Brazil and the start of Surinam as a Dutch colony (Jodensavanne).

Again, an international conference and some expositions will be organised in co-operation with the participants mentioned above. Involvement of the city of Middelburg (Province of Zeeland) will be requested, as well as that of The University of the Netherlands Antilles (UNA) and other Antillean institutions, and of the National Library at Albany, NY, USA, site of an important project on the Dutch Period in North-America.






MOWIC hopes to have pleased you with this first MOWIC E-journal. A Dutch and a Portuguese version are available at the secretary.

Amsterdam, July/ August, 2001

Acknowledgement: we are indebted to Mrs Maria Sieders for providing the Portuguese translation and to Dr A. van der Gen for correcting the English version.

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