Backhuysen or Bakhuizen, born probably on 28 December 1630, his early life was spent at Emden in Germany. In 1649/50 he moved to Amsterdam where he worked as a merchant's clerk and calligrapher before training as a painter with Everdingen, and Hendrik Dubbels.
By 1657 he was active as a draughtsman and there are dated paintings from the following year. In 1663 he became a member of the Amsterdam guild. He was much influenced by the Willem van de Velde, q.v., after whose departure for England in 1672-3 he became the leading marine painter in Amsterdam. He died in Amsterdam on 6/7 November 1708.