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Biologie en Bildung: Jan van der Hoeven (1802-1868)

By Bert Theunissen


Biology and Bildung: Jan van der Hoeven (1802-1868) The history of the Dutch natural sciences in the early decades of the nineteenth century has received relatively little attention. The universities were in a rather deplorable state at the time, and most of the science professors were minor figures who did not publish much and whose work has largely been forgotten. The rather negative picture of the period that was painted by the Dutch historian Huizinga in the early twentieth century still dominates the modern view of the period. In this article I try to raise more interest in the period from the perspective of cultural history. As an example, I discuss the career of Jan van der Hoeven, a Cuvierian zoologist and comparative anatomist. Van der Hoeven turns out to have been a typical representative of the Dutch 'christian Enlightenment', and there appears to have been a clear unity between his world-view, his social and religious views and his science. His ideas on Bildung can be shown to have been part of a wider movement to enhance the status of the natural sciences at the Dutch universities in the early nineteenth century

Topics: Geschiedenis, Biology, Van der Hoeven, Bildung, Christian Enlightenment
Year: 2012
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