Willem Boreel

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Willem Boreel (2 March 1591, Middelburg – 29 September 1668, Paris) was a Dutch diplomat.


He was the son of Jacob Boreel (1552-1636), burgomaster of Bergen-op-Zoom.[1] Adam Boreel and the jurist Abraham Boreel were brothers; Johan Boreel was a half-brother.[2] He was knighted by James I of England in 1618.[3] As a lawyer, Boreel worked for the Dutch East India Company,[4] and was part of a mission to resolve the Dutch and British commercial rivalry in the East Indies by a treaty.[5]

Boreel became Baron of Vreendijk and Vreenhove. From 1627 to 1649 he was Pensionary of Amsterdam.[6] During that period he travelled to England, with Johan van Reede van Renswouden, in an attempt to mediate in the First English Civil War.[7] Then from 1650 for the rest of his life he served as Ambassador from the Dutch Republic to France.[6]

In 1655 Boreel intervened almost decisively in the controversy over the invention of the telescope. He gave credit to Zacharias Janssen, over others who were more celebrated.[3] This conclusion was adopted by Pierre Borel in his 1656 book on the subject.[8]


  1. ^ John Penry Lewis, List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest, with an obituary of persons uncommemorated (1913) p. 110; archive,org.
  2. ^ (Dutch) Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Boreel, Jacob.
  3. ^ a b Albert Van Helden; Sven Dupré; Rob van Gent (2010). The Origins of the Telescope. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 21–2. ISBN 978-90-6984-615-6. 
  4. ^ Siegfried Huigen; Jan L. De Jong; Elmer Kolfin (2010). The Dutch Trading Companies As Knowledge Networks. BRILL. p. 133. ISBN 90-04-18659-X. 
  5. ^ Bibliotheca Visseriana Disserationvm Ivs Internationale Inllvstrantivm Cvra Facvltatis Ivridicae Lvgdvno-batavae Edita. Brill Archive. p. 131. GGKEY:20UJADURTEJ. 
  6. ^ a b Esther Mijers; David Onnekink (2007). Redefining William III: The Impact of the King-stadholder in International Context. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 237–8. ISBN 978-0-7546-8639-2. 
  7. ^ Keblusek, Marika. "Reede van Renswouden, Johan van". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23279.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. ^ Albert Van Helden; Sven Dupré; Rob van Gent (2010). The Origins of the Telescope. Amsterdam University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-90-6984-615-6.