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Theodorus van Swinderen (1784-1851)

Professor of Natural History
Theodorus van Swinderen

Theodorus van Swinderen was born in Groningen in 1784. He completed Latin school in the city, then went to the university in 1799. He was interested in physics and founded the Royal Society for Physics, which still exists today. In 1814 he was made professor of Natural History and would remain this until his death in 1851.

Medal from the Society for Natural Sciences, founded by Van Swinderen in 1801
Medal from the Society for Natural Sciences, founded by Van Swinderen in 1801

He gave the impulse to found the Museum of Natural History and ensured there was a collection of objects by keeping in contact with like-minded people in the Netherlands, France, Germany, the UK, the Cape, Java and China.

Van Swinderen is perhaps best known for his active civil work rather than for his scientific exploits. He wanted to educate the general public and make them more historically aware. He was responsible for the reintroduction of celebrations on 28 August, commemorating the lifting of the siege of 1672. He also played an important role in the raising of many memorials in the city and province, as for instance the monument of the Battle of Heiligerlee

Monument of the Battle of Heiligerlee
Monument of the Battle of Heiligerlee
Last modified:22 May 2019 2.06 p.m.
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