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Netherlands Nordic Company

Geoctroyeerde Noordsche Compagnie

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
Keywords: nordic company | greenlandic company | whaling |
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The company

The Dutch Geoctroyeerde Noordsche Compagnie (or Groenlandsche Compagnie; Chartered Nordic or Greenlandic Company) was founded 27 January 1614 by patent from the States General. It received the monopoly for whaling in the area between Nova Zemlya and Davis Strait. On Spitsbergen (Dutch for Svalbard) the settlement Smerenburg was founded. The company was dissolved in 1642, due to competition from both the Danish Islandic Company and Dutch cities who broke the monopoly. In 1645 the States General gave the whaling free for competition.
(Source: Nijhoffs Geschiedenis-lexicon Nederland en België, 1981).
Mark Sensen, 31 July 1999

Flag with whale

I've seen twice small (unclear) depictions of paintings with the Dutch tricolour and the whale in the centre, waving on what seems to be a whaling station.
One of them is depicted on the cover of the book Een dorp in de polder by Van Deursen. The painting is called "Traankokerij in Jisp" ("Try-house in Jisp") and dated 1664, so after the Nordic Company was dissolved! The upper stripe is red, the whale is spitting, and is facing the hoist. Was it the flag of the Nordic Company, or of private whalers?
Mark Sensen, 31 July 1999 and 2 August 1999

Flag with harpoons?

In the book Een dorp in de polder by Van Deursen is also a print of an engraving of Dutch whalers active near Greenland. The flag on the rear mast is a (Dutch) tricolour, with a device which could be three harpoons tight together (note: I'm just speculating here!).
Mark Sensen, 2 August 1999