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Scientific Instrument Makers in the Netherlands

During the last few decades, one of the insights gained in the history of science concerns the crucial importance of the exchange of knowledge between artisans and scientists. The manufacturers of scientific instruments represent an especially important category, because they operated on the treshold of science and artisanal knowledge.

A first historical overview of Dutch instrument makers was published in 1950 by Maria Rooseboom (1909-1978), who at the time was the director of the Dutch Museum for the History of the Netherlands in Leyden (the present-day Museum Boerhaave). Her Bijdrage tot de Geschiedenis der Instrumentmakerskunst in de Noordelijke Nederlanden (PDF file in Dutch) is still an important document.

This website continues Rooseboom’s work by providing biographical data about instrument makers that were active in the Netherlands. The data are largely based on a card index used at Museum Boerhaave (and which was given the pet name ‘Miesje’ in honor of Rooseboom), expanded with later information.