For most of the 17th century the Dutch East India Company, or VOC, brought wealth and prestige to the Low Countries, ushering in what would be known as the Dutch Golden Age. Business was booming, profits were soaring, and the greatly expanded middle class flaunted its newly acquired wealth. It was an age of masterpiece paintings and scientific breakthroughs. What allowed the VOC, established in 1602, to amass such vast fortunes at breakneck speed? The answer lies with the book that has been dubbed ‘the key to the East’: Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s Itinerario.