Netherlands

Peter Paul Rubens and the Baroque Extravaganza

Peter Paul Rubens and the Baroque Extravaganza

On June 28, 1577, German-born Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens was born. He is best known for his extravagant Baroque style that emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality. “The light falls so unfavorably on the altar that one can hardly discern the figures or enjoy the beauty of color and the delicacy of the heads and draperies which I executed with great care from nature and completely successfully according to the judgement…
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The Diary of a Young Girl – the Story of Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl – the Story of Anne Frank

On June 12, 1929, Annelies “Anne” Marie Frank was born. She is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Her wartime diary The Diary of a Young Girl gained international fame posthumously when published in 1947. The diary documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. “For someone like me, it is a very strange habit to write in a diary. Not only…
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Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

On May 20, 1570, Belgian cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, in Antwerp. It consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. Abraham Ortelius – Early Years Abraham Ortelius was born in Antwerp, but grew up with his uncle after his father passed away at young age. In…
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Statistical Mechanics with Paul Ehrenfest

Statistical Mechanics with Paul Ehrenfest

On January 18, 1881, Austrian and Dutch theoretical physicist Paul Ehrenfest was born. Ehrenfest made major contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and its relations with quantum mechanics, including the theory of phase transition and the Ehrenfest theorem. “Einstein, my upset stomach hates your theory — it almost hates you yourself ! How am I to provide for my students ? What am I to answer to the philosophers ?” –…
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The Fateful Journeys of Alexine Tinne

The Fateful Journeys of Alexine Tinne

On October 17, 1835, Dutch explorer of Africa Alexandrine Petronella Francina Tinne was born. She was the first European woman to attempt to cross the Sahara. Alexandrine Tinne Background Alexandrine Tinne was born into a wealthy family. Her father passed away when she was only ten years old and she turned into one of the richest young girls of the Netherlands. It is then said that she suffered highly from love sickness…
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The Phantastic Worlds of M. C. Escher

The Phantastic Worlds of M. C. Escher

On June 17, 1898, Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, better known as M. C. Escher, was born. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints, which feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations. “The ideas that are basic to [my work] often bear witness to my amazement and wonder at the laws of nature which operate in the world around us. He who wonders discovers…
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Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and Superconductivity

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and Superconductivity

On April 8, 1911, Dutch physicist and Nobel Laureate Heike Kamerlingh Onnes found that at a temperature of only 4.2 K (-269° C) the resistance in a solid mercury wire immersed in liquid helium suddenly vanished. Kamerlingh Onnes discovered superconductivity. „Door meten tot weten“ – “Through measurement to knowledge” – Motto of Kamerlingh Onnes’ Laboratory Early Years Born in Groningen, Netherlands, Kamerlingh Onnes also attended the city’s university and studied under the famous…
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Jacob Roggeveen and the Easter Island

Jacob Roggeveen and the Easter Island

On April 5, 1722, Dutch seafarer Jacob Roggeveen is the first European to discover the Polynesian island Rapa Nui, which he named Easter Island. Arent Roggeveen Arent Roggeveen was an accomplished scholar and teacher in mathematics, astronomy, and navigational theory. He managed to obtain a charter from the States-General of the United Netherlands in order to head towards the South Sea in 1675. However, he found no shareholders among the conservative Dutch merchants,…
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Piet Mondrian – Reducing Art to Simple Geometry

Piet Mondrian – Reducing Art to Simple Geometry

On March 7, 1872, Dutch Painter Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan was born. Mondrian is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th century abstract art, as he changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to simple geometric elements. “A form must be of…
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The Burst of the Tulip Bubble

The Burst of the Tulip Bubble

On February 3, 1637, in Haarlem, Netherlands, the tulip bulb contract prices collapsed abruptly and the trade of tulips ground to a halt. This should put an end to the ‘Tulip Mania‘, one of the first economic bubbles to burst. You see, financial crisis is not an invention of modern times. Already in the 17th century, in the early age of baroque, people went crazy for a good that was short of…
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