Bust of Piet Hein, Hendrick de Keyser (II) (attributed to), 1636
Piet Hein fought in the Netherlands, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, Africa, and America as a seaman. But he only becomes truly famous when he captures the Spanish Silver Fleet off the coast of Cuba in September 1628. For the Spanish the loss of that fleet is a financial catastrophe and for the Dutch Republic, quite the opposite, a tremendous triumph. Hein becomes enormously popular among the Dutch and is honoured everywhere. Just a year later, Hein dies in a skirmish with privateers from Ostend in the English Channel.