Adriaen Coornwinder

Other name: 
Koornwinder, Korenwinder
Birth or Baptism date: 
June 23, 1602
Death or Burial date: 
January 1, 1657

In 1677, Adriaen Coornwinder's widow Neeltje Jans sold a piece of land in Berkel to Leeuwenhoek and Jan Blaucamer.

Adriaen's grandfather was Vedastus Coornwinder, pastor (predikant) of the church in Berkel, who had moved there from Flanders. Vedestus had a daughter, Catharina, who married his successor, Bernardus Dwingelo. Vedestus's son, David (1581-1623), was Adriaen's notorious father.

David Coornwinder was beheaded after a failed plot to assassinate Prince Mauritz. In 1685, Mauritz had succeeded his assassinated father Willem of Orange as stadthouder, the chief executive and military leader of the Dutch Republic. Mauritz feuded with the Republic's political leader Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, eventually stacking the jury that convicted and condemned Oldenbarnevelt, who was executed in 1619.

Among many other possessions, Oldenbarnevelt had bought the heerlijkheid of Berkel. The Coornwinder family was prominent in Berkel, serving as Dutch Reformed minister (Vedastus) and attorney and property tax collector (Adriaen's father David). In 1612, Oldenbarnevelt appointed David as secretary for the heerlijkheid.

David's co-conspirators included Oldenbarnevelt's two sons, one of whom escaped to France and joined the Spanish army. The other son, along with David and a dozen others, were executed in 1623.

A vivid recounting of the conspiracy plot is found in Chapter XXIII of Motley's The Life and Death of John of Barneveld, Advocate of Holland, available online at Project Gutenberg.

Mauritz's government confiscated all of Oldenbarnevelt's possessions, including Berkel. A year after the plot failed, Johan van Oldebarnevelt, grandson of the executed Johan, bought the rights back from the States of Holland for 92,120 ponds and it stayed in the family until 1687.

David Coornwinder's children and grandchildren kept their lands and regained their place as secretaries of the heerlijkheid. After 1641, they were involved in efforts to drain the Oostmeer. In the mid-1670's, Jacob Spoors was asked to survey the nearby land to show where a new drainage canal would go. Leeuwenhoek may well have been part of that surveying team, which would have led him to Berkelse Meer where he collected the water in which he first saw microbes.