One Page. Michiel de Ruyter (1607-1676)

From Stamps of the World

Admiral Ruyter (1607-1676)

1944-1945. Portrait of Michiel de Ruyter based on a painting by the Northern Netherlandish painter Ferdinand Bol. Rijksmuseum/Royal Museum in Amsterdam.

Michiel Adriaenz de Ruyter was born in Vlissingen (Flushing). He went to the sea for the first time at he age of 11, serving for the Lampsins family. In 1621-1622 he served under Prince Maurits.

By 1635 Michiel de Ruyter was a merchant captain.

After serving as rear admiral of a fleet assisting Portugal against Spain in 1641, he returned to the merchant service for the next 10 years, fighting against the Barbary pirates off the North African coast.

Although he planned to settle with his family in Amsterdam, Michiel accepted the job as vice-commander in the navy. During the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654), he distinguished himself against the English, while serving under the Dutch admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp.

In 1653, de Ruyter became vice-admiral of Holland.

In 1666 he got his own flagship De Zeven Provinciën (the seven provinces). During the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1664-1667) he defeated the English in the Four Days' Battle fought near Dunkerque, France, in 1666.

1907 De Ruyter and Fleet in action
1907 De Ruyter and Fleet in action
1907 De Ruyter and Fleet in action

In 1907 a stamp emission of the Dutch Post showed the portret of Michiel de Ruyter to commemorate the 300th birthday of the famous Admiral. This emission was also remarkable, because it was the first time that another person than the king or the queen was depicted on a Dutch stamp.

1957 Portrait of De Ruyter
1957 "The Seven Provinces"

In 1957, at the 350th birthday of de Ruyter, two postage stamps appeared. One (10ct orange/red) shows the portrait of de Ruyter, while the other one (30ct blue) depicts De Ruyter's flagship "De Zeven Provinciën" (the Seven Provinces).

FDC E30, emission of July 2, 1957.

The 350th birthday of de Ruyter was also exuberantly remembered in Vlissingen (his city of birth). The Dutch postal authorities delivered a First Day Cover for this occasion. Also the organisation of the events in Vlissingen sold a private FDC on the same day (July 2, 1957).

FDC Flushing events, emission of July 2, 1957.
1976, Statue of de Ruyter in Vlissingen.

As admiral-in-chief of the Dutch fleet during the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-1678), he saved the fleet from destruction by English and French ships in the Battle of Southwold Bay off the English coast in 1672, and prevented an allied invasion of Holland in 1673 with victories at Ostend and Kijkduin.

De Ruyter was fatally wounded in a battle against the French fleet at Messina near Sicily in 1676. His body was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

Tributes to Michiel Adriaensz de Ruyter

Dutch banknote of 100 guilders with portrait of Michiel de Ruyter. Design by R.D.E.Oxenaar. Valid in period 1972 - 1985
Meter cancel Vlissingen 1998 with de Ruyter Statue
Statue of de Ruyter at the Harbour of Vlissingen