Nicolaas van der Heyden was a Dutch Surveyor and Hydraulic Engineer. He was the brother of the famous Dutch artist and engraver, Jan van der Heyden.
Nicolaas worked originally as a silk cloth merchant, but then worked together with his brother on their inventions.
In July 1673, Nicolaas was appointed supervisor of Amsterdam's locks and of fortifications, with the rank of lieutenant in the artillery, paying a yearly wage of 1500 guilders. Around the same time Nicolaas also worked for the city as a surveyor, calling the house where he lived De Landmeter after this function.
On November 15, 1673, Nicolaas and Jan were named supervisors of the city fire pumps, for which they eventually received a yearly salary of 315 guilders. Far more important to their livelihood than their salary was the fact that the city began purchasing all of its fire fighting equipment from the brothers, for amounts that went into the tens of thousands of guilders. Since 1669, Jan had been supervisor of streetlighting, and supplier of the equipment and personnel to keep Amsterdam lit at night, at two thousand guilders a year.
Together with his brother Jan, he invented and patented the world's first fire-extinguisher. However, it seems that the Brothers were not close. They were bitter rivals at that time, in the midst of a conflict over the rights to some of their inventions. Jan declared that Nicolaas was undermining their partnership by experimenting with fire hoses on his own.