Netherlands

Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

On March 10, 1697, Russian Tsar Peter the Great began his diplomatic mission to Western Europe, referred to as the ‘Grand Embassy‘. The goal of this mission was to strengthen and broaden Russia‘s influence in Western Europe and to find allies against the Ottoman Empire. What makes the mission so special is that Peter the Great led the mission himself, but incognito under a wrong name. “Alas! I have civilized my own…
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Willem Johan Kolff and Artificial Organs

Willem Johan Kolff and Artificial Organs

On February 14, 1911, Dutch-American physician and biomedical engineer Willem Johan Kolff was born. Kolff is considered to be the Father of Artificial Organs, and is regarded as one of the most important physicians of the 20th century. He made his major discoveries in the field of dialysis for kidney failure during the Second World War. Education and first Research Willem Johan Kolff was born in Leiden, Netherlands, as the eldest of…
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Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

On February 12, 1637, Dutch biologist and microscopist Jan Swammerdam was born. He was one of the first people to use the microscope in dissections, and his techniques remained useful for hundreds of years. Swammerdam’s work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect — egg, larva, pupa, and adult — are different forms of the same animal. In 1658, he was the first to observe and describe red…
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Eugene Dubois and the Discovery of the Java Man

Eugene Dubois and the Discovery of the Java Man

On January 28, 1858, Dutch paleoanthropologist and geologist Eugene Dubois was born. Dubois earned worldwide fame for his discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus (later redesignated Homo erectus), or Java Man. Although hominid fossils had been found and studied before, Dubois was the first anthropologist to embark upon a purposeful search for them. Eugene Dubois – Early Years Dubois was born in Eijsden, near Limburg, Netherlands, where his father, Jean Dubois, was an apothecary,…
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Maarten Schmidt and the Phenomenon of Quasars

Maarten Schmidt and the Phenomenon of Quasars

On December 28, 1929, Dutch astronomer Maarten Schmidt was born. Schmidt is best known for measuring the distances of quasars. Quasars or quasi-stellar radio sources are the most energetic and distant members of a class of objects called active galactic nuclei (AGN). Quasars are extremely luminous and were first identified as being high redshift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that appeared to be similar to stars, rather…
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Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

On December 8, 1730, Dutch physiologist, biologist and chemist Jan Ingenhousz was born. He is best known for showing that light is essential to photosynthesis and thus became one of the scientists who significantly contributed to the discovery of photosynthesis. He also discovered that plants, like animals, have cellular respiration. “Mr. Ingenhouszen belongs to the small number of working physicists who possess the fruitful talent not only to pursue individual objects with admirable…
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Modern Planetary Science with Gerard Kuiper

Modern Planetary Science with Gerard Kuiper

On December 7, 1905, Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Peter Kuiper was born. Considered by many to be the father of modern planetary science, Kuiper is the eponymous namesake of the Kuiper belt, a region of the Solar System beyond the planets, extending from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. Kuiper also discovered Miranda, a moon of Uranus, and Nereid, a moon of Neptune. “The Kuiper Belt…
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Christiaan Huygens and the Development of the Pocket Watch

Christiaan Huygens and the Development of the Pocket Watch

On October 4, 1675, prominent Dutch mathematician, physicist, astronomer and inventor Christiaan Huygens patented a pocket watch. Huygens was a leading scientist of his time, who established the wave theory of light and made outstanding astronomical discoveries. He also patented the first pendulum clock in 1656, which he has developed to meet his need for exact time measurement while observing the heavens. “…the power of this line [the cycloid] to measure time.”  –…
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Pieter Brueghel the Elder and the Dutch Golden Age of Painting

Pieter Brueghel the Elder and the Dutch Golden Age of Painting

On September 9, 1569, Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder passed away. He was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes. He is sometimes referred to as “Peasant Bruegel“, to distinguish him from the many later painters in his family, including his son Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564–1638).[1] Pieter Brueghel the Elder – Background Little is known with…
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Fantastic Beasts of Hieronymus Bosch – and where to find them…

Fantastic Beasts of Hieronymus Bosch – and where to find them…

On 9 August 1516, Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch was buried. One of the most notable representatives of the Early Netherlandish painting school, his work, generally oil on oak wood, mainly contains fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. Today, Bosch is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into humanity’s desires and deepest fears. Hieronymus Bosch – Background Hieronymus Bosch came from the painter family “van Aken”, whose name of…
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