François Valentijn was born in the city of Dordrecht on 17th April 1666, the son of Abraham and Maria Valentijn. 1 His father was a co-rector of the Grammar School at Dordrecht and his mother was a daughter of a Minister or Predikant of the Dutch Reformed Church. Abraham Valentijn belonged to an established middle class family which, as was evident from the subsequent career of François, had good connections with the Calvinist establishment, and even with the Netherlands-based official hierarchy of the Dutch East India Company (V.O.C.). François had a good early education at his father's school and continued his studies on a scholarship at the University at Leiden which he entered at the age of sixteen. He chose to study theology and progressed rapidly in his studies. When he turned eighteen, he had completed the prescribed examinations and had qualified as a Minister of the Reformed Church in 1684. His college studies gave him proficiency in the Classics (Latin and Greek), some Hebrew and possibly some Arabic. The early completion of these studies indicated application and intelligence, and the ability to cope with the demands of an education to qualify for the clergy at an age barely out of adolescence. At the end of 1684 he was appointed Minister to the East Indies and taken into the service of the East India Company. He was given a five-year contract and the Directors appointed him to the parish of Victoria Castle on the island of Amboina.