dr. H.G. (Rina) Knoeff

Associate Professor with ius promovendi


Research interests


My research has centred on three themes:

1. The (premodern) history of healthy ageing. This line of research combines history of medicine with medical humanities and is also directed at making history of medicine relevant to non-academic audiences. 

2. The chemistry and medicine of Dutch medical teacher Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) and the Dutch Boerhaave school. At present I lead a NWO research project (funded by a NWO vidi grant) on the introduction of a specific Boerhaavian 'vitalism' in Dutch Enlightenenment thought. 

3. The history of anatomy and anatomical collections. From 2008 until 2012 I was leader of a research project (also funded by NWO) on the historical anatomical collections of Leiden Univerisity.


I authored Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738): Calvinist Chemist and Physician (Amsterdam: Edita, 2002) and edited The Fate of Anatomical Collections (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015). 


My articles have appeared in Ambix, Journal for the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Gewina, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Medizinhistorisches Jounal and Nature, among others. I have also contributed chapters to books published by Ashgate, Routledge, Springer, and Brill.


I also give public lectures across the Netherlands and I am currently curating the exhibition Gelukkig Gezond! Histories of Healthy Ageing at the Groningen University Museum (June 2017-January 2018).

  1. Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738): Calvinist Chemist and Physician

    Knoeff, H., 2002, Edita.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic

  2. The Fate of Anatomical Collections

    Knoeff, R. (ed.) & Zwijnenberg, R. (ed.), Mar-2015, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing. 328 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook editingAcademic

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Press / Media
  1. Real Human Bodies. Honger naar het macabere

    Rina Knoeff


    1 media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

  2. Histories of Healthy Ageing

    Rina Knoeff


    1 media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

  3. Gezond leven is van alle tijden

    Rina Knoeff


    1 media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

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  1. Exhibition 'Gelukkig Gezond! Histories of Healthy Ageing'

    Rina Knoeff (Consultant)

    Activity: ConsultancyOutreachPopular

  2. Tormenting the Body, Curing the Soul. Boerhaave & Gaub on the Pathology of the Mind

    Rina Knoeff (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationProfessional

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  1. Vrije Competitie grant 2008-2012

    Rina Knoeff (Recipient), 2008


  2. Aspasia

    Rina Knoeff (Recipient), 2012

    Prize: Other distinctionAcademic

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