The V.O.C. “return ship” originated from the fact that trade, shipping and shipbuilding were closely interlinked. These ships were used for the transport of goods and passengers to Batavia (now Jakarta), which was the major centre of trade in Asia in those days.

One of the biggest of her time was the Batavia, built by master shipwright Jan Rycksen. As taxes were levied on the entire deckís surface area, a narrow superstructure was chosen.

Unfortunately, under the command of Fransisco Pelsaert she was lost on her maiden trip off the Australian coast. Of the 341 crew members 40 were drowned immediately. Most of the others were murdered by Jeronimus Cornelisí son, the apprentice merchant, who had already been out for mutiny earlier during the voyage.

Only Wiebe Hayes, an extremely good strategist and capable soldier, with a few other people, managed to escape from this ghastly massacre on Bataviaís graveyard.
The memory of “de Ongeluckige Voyagie van “t schip Batavia” (the Unlucky Voyage of the Batavia”) will always linger on, because it was put to writing rather quickly. In 1963 a diving expedition led by diver/journalist Hugh Edwards finally found the wreck, on directions given by the writer HenriÈtte Drake-Broekman, who had done extensive research on the Batavia.

Since 1995 this authentic replica has been on show in Lelystad (Netherlands).