Merchant from the S Netherlands, born in Tournai, who settled in Amsterdam after the fall of Antwerp. He was a co-founder and major shareholder of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and one of the Heren XVII
(17 Gentlemen). He quarrelled with his fellow directors in 1605 and left the VOC after being accused of fraud. He then worked against it, planning a French East India Company with Henry IV of France, which came to nothing with Henry's death. He also speculated against the VOC and set up the Austraal Compagnie in 1614 which sent out two ships under his son, Jacques Lemaire, and Willem Schouten to explore the South. This resulted in a further dispute with the VOC about the sea route to the South, which he won in the Supreme Court, but the route remained closed to him.