Netherlands

Frits Zernike and the Phase Contrast Microscope

Frits Zernike and the Phase Contrast Microscope

On July 16 , 1888, Dutch physicist and Nobel Laureate Frits Zernike was born. He is best known for his invention of the phase contrast microscope, an instrument that permits the study of internal cell structure without the need to stain and thus kill the cells. “I am impressed by the great limitations of the human mind. How quick are we to learn, that is, to imitate what others have done or thought before. And how…
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Jan van Eyck – the King among the Painters

Jan van Eyck – the King among the Painters

On July 9, 1441, Dutch painter Jan van Eyck passed away. He was one of the early innovators of what became known as Early Netherlandish painting, and one of the most significant representatives of Early Northern Renaissance art. He initiated the new naturalistic art epoch north of the Alps. Because of his perfect painting technique and his sense for a true-to-life representation, he was even called “king among painters” by many authors.…
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The Brueghel Family Painting Business

The Brueghel Family Painting Business

Between May 23 and October 10, 1564, Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Younger was born. He is known for numerous copies after his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s work as well as his original compositions. The large output of his studio, which produced for the local and export market, contributed to the international spread of his father’s imagery. Pieter Brueghel the Younger – Family Background The later artist was born as the…
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Jan Hendrik Oort and the Secrets of the Oort Cloud

Jan Hendrik Oort and the Secrets of the Oort Cloud

On April 28, 1900, Dutch physicist and astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort was born. One of the greatest astronomers of the 20th century, Oort made significant contributions to the understanding of the Milky Way and who was a pioneer in the field of radio astronomy. Oort determined that the Milky Way rotates and overturned the idea that the sun is at its center; he discovered mysterious invisible ‘dark matter‘ in 1932, as well…
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Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

On April 15, 1907, Dutch biologist, ornithologist, and Nobel Laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen was born. He studied the behavior of animals in their natural habitats and shared (with Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch) the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1973 for their discoveries concerning “organization and elicitation of individual and social behavior patterns.” Nikolaas Tinbergen – Early Years Nikolaas Tinbergen was born in The Hague, Netherlands, as the third of…
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Charles de l’Écluse and the Dutch Tulips

Charles de l’Écluse and the Dutch Tulips

On April 4, 1609, Flemish doctor and pioneering botanist Charles de l’Écluse, L’Escluse, or with his Latin name Carolus Clusius passed away. He is considered perhaps the most influential of all 16th-century scientific horticulturists. He travelled and collected botanical information throughout Europe, and introduced new plants from outside Europe. In the history of gardening he is remembered not only for his scholarship but also for laying the foundations of Dutch tulip breeding…
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Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

On January 21, 1609, French religious leader and scholar Joseph Justus Scaliger passed away. He is referred to as being one of the founders of the science of chronology, expanding the notion of classical history from Greek and ancient Roman history to include Persian, Babylonian, Jewish and ancient Egyptian history. “All divisions in religion arise from ignorance of grammar.” ― Joseph Justus Scaliger [8] Justus Scaliger – Early Years Joseph Justus Scaliger was born…
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Jan Baptist van Helmont – The Founder of Pneumatic Chemistry

Jan Baptist van Helmont – The Founder of Pneumatic Chemistry

On January 12, 1580, Flemish chemist, physiologist, and physician Jan Baptist van Helmont was born. Can Helmont worked during the years just after Paracelsus and is sometimes considered to be “the founder of pneumatic chemistry“. Van Helmont is remembered today largely for his ideas on spontaneous generation and his introduction of the word “gas” (from the Greek word chaos) into the vocabulary of scientists. “I praise my bountiful God, who hath called…
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Anthony Fokker and his Famous Aircrafts

Anthony Fokker and his Famous Aircrafts

On December 23, 1939, Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Anton Herman Gerard “Anthony” Fokker passed away. He is most famous for the fighter aircraft he produced in Germany during the First World War. Anthony Fokker and the Fokker de Spin Anthony Fokker was born in Kediri on Java. His father Herman Fokker, owner of a coffee plantation on Java, returned with the family to Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1894. It is believed that…
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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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