Born at Gorinchem in 1637, he trained initially with a glass painter. By 1650 his family had settled in Amsterdam where, on his marriage in 1661, He is recorded as a painter. There are dated works from 1664. From the evidence of his pictures he must have travelled in Flanders and the Rhineland and he also visited London, painting views of the Royal Exchange and the Monument.
After 1668 he was increasingly concerned with improvements to street lighting and fire-fighting equipment; in 1672 he constructed the first fire-engine (publishing a book on the subject in 1690) and he seems to have painted only infrequently after c. 1680. He died in Amsterdam on 28 March 1712. Known chiefly for his accomplished townscapes, he also painted landscapes and, in later life, some still lifes.