Netherlands

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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You are either a Spinozist or not a Philosopher at all

You are either a Spinozist or not a Philosopher at all

On November 24, 1632, Jewish-Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin Baruch Spinoza was born. By laying the groundwork for the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, Spinoza came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. “Beauty, my dear Sir, is not so much a quality of the object beheld, as an effect in him who beholds it. If our sight…
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Johannes Vermeer – Master of Perspective and Lighting

Johannes Vermeer – Master of Perspective and Lighting

On October 31, 1632, Dutch genre painter Johannes Vermeer was born in Delft. Vermeer always worked slowly and with great care, using bright colors and sometimes expensive pigments, with a preference for cornflower blue and yellow. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work. By art alone we are able to get outside ourselves, to know what another sees of this universe which for him is…
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Antonie van Leeuwenhoek – The Father of Microbiology

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek – The Father of Microbiology

On October 24, 1632, the Dutch tradesman and scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope, was born. He is commonly known as “the Father of Microbiology“, and considered to be the first microbiologist. “Please bear in mind that my observations and thoughts are the outcome of my own unaided impulse and curiosity alone; for, besides myself, in our town there be no philosophers who practice this art, so pray, take…
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Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and the Measurement of Temperature

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and the Measurement of Temperature

On May 24, 1686, Dutch-German-Polish physicist, engineer, and glass blower Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was born. He is is best known for his invention of the mercury-in-glass thermometer in 1714, and for developing a temperature scale that is now named after him. His parents living in Gdansk were Daniel (1656-1701) and Concordia Fahrenheit (1657-1701) (née Schumann, related Runge). The mother came from a well-known Gdañsk merchant family and was the daughter of the…
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Pieter Zeeman and the Zeeman Effect

Pieter Zeeman and the Zeeman Effect

On October 9, 1943, Dutch physicist Pieter Zeeman passed away. Zeeman shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Hendrik Lorentz for his discovery of the Zeeman effect, the effect of splitting a spectral line into several components in the presence of a static magnetic field. Youth and Education Pieter Zeeman was born on 25 May 1865 in Zonnemaire, a small town on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland, Netherlands, to Catharinus Forandinus Zeeman, a minister of…
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Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff and Physical Chemistry

Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff and Physical Chemistry

On August 30, 1852, Dutch physical chemist Jacobus Henricus Van ‘t Hoff was born. Van ‘t Hoff was the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His pioneering work helped found the modern theory of chemical affinity, chemical equilibrium, chemical kinetics, and chemical thermodynamics. He formulated the theory of the tetrahedral carbon atom and laid the foundations of stereochemistry and predicted the correct structures of allenes and cumulenes as well as their…
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Christiaan Eijkman and the Cause of Beriberi

Christiaan Eijkman and the Cause of Beriberi

On August 11, 1858, Dutch physiologist Christiaan Eijkman was born. Eijkman‘s demonstrated that beriberi is caused by poor diet led to the discovery of antineuritic vitamins (thiamine). Together with Sir Frederick Hopkins, he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Christiaan Eijkman was born at Nijkerk, Netherlands as the seventh child of Christiaan Eijkman, the headmaster of a local school, and Johanna Alida Pool. In 1859, the Eijkman family moved to…
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Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

On June 18, 1922, Dutch astronomer Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn passed away. Kapteyn carried out extensive studies of the Milky Way and was the discoverer of evidence for galactic rotation. He used photography and statistical methods in determining the motions and spatial distribution of stars, the first major step after the works of William and John Herschel. Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn was born on 19 January 1851 in Barneveld,in the Dutch province of Gelderland,…
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