Admiral Joris van Spilbergen (1568 – 1620)
In May 1602, Admiral Joris van Spilbergen was the first Dutch seafarer arriving at Ceylon, just prior to the founding of the VOC. He was the commander of a small fleet, dispatched by the rich Dutch/Flemish merchant Balthazar de Moucheron and consisting of three ships with the curious names of: “Schaep” (Sheep), “Ram” (Ram) and “Lam” (Lamb). He was authorised by Prince Maurits, the Dutch Stadtholder to promise King Vimala Dharma Suriya, King of Kandy Dutch military assistance against the Portuguese, who occupied part of the island. He concluded an agreement with the King, leaving behind at his court two musicians: Hans Rempell and Erasmus Matsberger. The latter became secretary to the King and translator.