1606  — 1655

Robertus Junius

Dutch missionary in Formosa (Taiwan).

Born in Rotterdam, Junius studied in Leiden at the seminary of Antonius Walaeus, graduating in 1628. He was first sent to Batavia (present-day Jakarta) in 1629, and then to Formosa, where he arrived later that year. He worked for two years in the area around the Dutch castle Zeelandia in Formosa, and then, from 1631 to 1643, reached out to the indigenous population of Sinckan (present-day Hsinying). Considered in Dutch church history as the reformer of Formosa, he baptized about 5,500 adults and educated 50 primary school teachers. He proposed to send pupils to the Netherlands for theological training; he translated sermons and the Heidelberg Catechism, and emphasized the importance of teaching in the vernacular.

Upon his return to Middelburg, Netherlands, in 1644, Junius reported on missionary progress. He was involved in a controversy over his missionary methods because his successors in Formosa did not adapt their teaching to the Formosans as much as Junius did. Having ministered in Delft until 1653, he moved to a church in Amsterdam, where he educated students, including Philippus Baldaeus, who were sent to the Indies. He thereby in effect reestablished the seminary of Antonius Walaeus.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • Inez de Beauclair, Neglected Formosa: A Translation from the Dutch of Frederic Coyett’s ‘t Verwaerloosde Formosa (1975); L. J. Joosse, Scoone dingen sijn swaere dingen: En onderzoek naar de motieven en de activiteiten in De Nederlanden tot verbreiding van de gereformeerde religie (1992); J. J. A. M. Kuepers, The Dutch Reformed Church in Formosa. 1627-1662: Mission in a Colonial Context (1978).