Dirck van Os

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Portrait of Dirck van Os, currently on display at Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar.
A painting by Pieter Saenredam of the old town hall in Amsterdam where Amsterdam Exchange Bank was founded in 1609.

Dirck van Os (Antwerp 13 March 1556 – Amsterdam 20 May 1615) was an Amsterdam merchant, insurer, financier and shipowner. He is among the founders of the Compagnie van Verre, the Amsterdam Exchange Bank and the United East India Company (VOC).


Van Os was born in Antwerp to a weaver originally from 's-Hertogenbosch, who had moved to Antwerp and labored in glassworks.

He served as captain of militia in the Fall of Antwerp, wherein the city surrendered to the Duke of Parma. After this point he moved to Middelburg. In January 1588, Van Os married Margretha of Piet.[1] He and his brother Hendrick sailed to obtain leather, grain and precious stones, primarily in the Levant and cities on the Baltic Sea.[2] In 1595, he left on an expedition with Isaac le Maire to get salt in Setúbal. Van Os acquired more than one-seventh of the land in Beemster.[3]

In 1602 he was one of the founders of the Dutch East India Company, and served as one of the first directors. With 47,000 guilders, he was one of the largest investors.[4] This number grew to 120,000 by 1609.[5] The oldest stock share in the world, dated 27 September 1606, was also signed by him.[6][7] Van Os was involved in the expedition of Henry Hudson to find an alternative route to the East.

His portrait hangs in the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar.[8]


His son, Dirck van Os III (1590–1668), served from 1618–1666 as the dijkgraaf of Beemster, and was the subject of a Rembrandt portrait currently owned by Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.[9]


  1. ^ Ondertrouwregisters Stadsarchief Amsterdam
  2. ^ Zuid-Nederlandse kooplieden en de opkomst van de Amsterdamse stapelmarkt ... door Oscar Gelderblom [1]
  3. ^ http://www.beemsterbuitenplaatsen.nl/PK57.htm
  4. ^ http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten-en-publicaties/toespraken/2012/02/15/beursplein-netwerkdiner-2012.html
  5. ^ http://www.financieelerfgoedopdekaart.nl/#/amsterdam/binnenstad-centrum/dirck-van-os-%281602%29/
  6. ^ the oldest Share : VOC 1606 / die älteste Aktie der Welt
  7. ^ Shorto, Russell (27 September 2013). "The Ghosts of Amsterdam". New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2014. But when I’m on the Nes I feel I’m about to run into a tall, handsome, wily man who in his day favored lace collars and a twisty little mustache. His name was Dirck van Os, and, while history has forgotten him, his house on this street (which, alas, no longer exists) could be considered the birthplace of capitalism.
    For four months in 1602, Amsterdammers streamed into his parlor to buy pieces of a new kind of corporation, one that allowed backers to sell their portion at a later date, at a higher (or lower) value. The Dutch East India Company transformed the world, and it made Amsterdam, briefly and improbably, the most powerful city in the world.
    But its biggest contribution to history may be in the fact that in this little alley van Os and his merchant colleagues gave birth to the concept of “shares of stock.” A few years later, a little farther down the street, came the first stock exchange. Things would never be the same.
  8. ^ http://www.oneindignoordholland.nl/nl-NL/verhaal/1077/dirck-van-oss-stamvader-voc-mentaliteit
  9. ^ Logan, Casey (April 6, 2014). "Joslyn Finds Rembrandt In Its Attic". The Omaha World-Herald Newspaper, Omaha, Douglas County, NE, USA. pp. 1 & 4A. Only In The World-Herald