Born in Rotterdam, Hambroeck studied in Leiden. After ministering in Schipluiden, near Delft, from 1622 to 1647, he was sent by the church to the East Indies. The church in Batavia (Jakarta) asked him to serve on Formosa, so in 1648 he settled in the village of Mattau. Assisted by indigenous teachers, he followed up on the work of Georgius Candidius and Robertus Junius and organized a teachers college in 1657. He also translated the Gospels of Matthew and John into the local language. These were revised by Daniel Gravius before being published in 1661. Hambroeck promoted school education designed to bring about conversion and the advancement of church life rather than the development of society. Many children and adults were therefore educated in Latin.
During Hambroeck’s time, war broke out frequently between villages. He warned the governors in Batavia that political turmoil was coming, but his pleas for military help were not heeded. In addition, the ongoing war with the Chinese worsened. When he tried to mediate between the Dutch and “Coxinga” (Tcheng Tch’eng-Koung), the Chinese military leader, he as well as his entire family was taken captive and decapitated. Hambroeck thus became a martyr for the Reformed faith. The Dutch lost the island to the Chinese in 1662.
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.
- W. A. Ginsel, De Gereformeerde Kerk op Formosa of de lotgevallen eener handebkerk onder de Oost Indische Compagnie, 1626-1662 (1931); L. J. Joosse, Scoone dingen sijn swaere dingen: Een 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).