Netherlands

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 was born in The Hague, Netherlands, as the third of five children of Dirk Cornelis…
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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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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. It is believed that at the age of about 16, Anthony Fokker witnessed his first airplane flight and his enthusiasm for aviation was awakened. He enrolled in a school in Germany that offered a course in aeronautics. He…
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Jan Ingenhousz and Photosynthesis

Jan Ingenhousz and 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. Jan Ingenhousz was born in Breda. He started his studies of medicine at the University of Leuven when he was 16 years old…
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Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

On November 24, 1642, Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant Abel Tasman sighted the west coast of Tasmania, north of Macquarie Harbour. He named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after Antonio van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Service in the Dutch East India Company Abel Tasman was born in 1603 in Lutjegast in what is now the province of Groningen, the Netherlands. He received a sufficient education to enable him to express…
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Bernard Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees

Bernard Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees

Bernard Mandeville’s – The Fable of Bees On November 15, 1670, Dutch philosopher, political economist and satirist Bernard Mandeville was born. He became famous for The Fable of the Bees, a satire that suggests many key principles of economic thought, including division of labor and the “invisible hand“, seventy years before these concepts were more thoroughly elucidated by Adam Smith. Not very much is known about the life of Bernard Mandeville. He probably grew…
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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 was born in Antwerp, but grew up with his uncle after his father passed away at young age. In 1575, he was appointed geographer…
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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. Becoming Russian Tsar At the age…
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