Author

Luuc Kooijmans

Historian Luuc Kooijmans is the author of Friendship (1997), a highly acclaimed study of the role of friendship in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch society that was short-listed for the prestigious Generale Bank Prize for Literature, as well as Love on Order (2000) and The Artist of Death (2004). In 2004 he was awarded the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation Humanities Prize for his oeuvre.

Friendship

Friendship

En de kunst van het overleven in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw

(Bert Bakker, 1997, 391 pages)

For the Dutch burghers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, friendship was very different to friendship as we know it today. Life was hard: potentially fatal diseases were never far away, and political and economic setbacks were a constant possibility. In Vriendschap, historian Luuc Kooijmans traces the ups and downs of two families of patricians and regents over the course of two centuries. Even in these elevated circles, friendship was primarily a matter of survival. Friends were of vital importance as a means of coping with the uncertainties of existence.

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Love on Orders

Love on Orders

Het hofleven van Willem Frederik van Nassau

(Bert Bakker, 2000, 332 pages)

Society in the Dutch Golden Age is traditionally described as ‘bourgeois’. Yet aristocrats exerted a considerable influence, not only in the political but also in the cultural field, particularly in the rural provinces. Most important of all were the stadtholders, the highest public servants in the seven separate states constituting the Dutch Republic, and invariably members of the House of Orange Nassau.

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The Artist of Death

The Artist of Death

De anatomische lessen van Frederik Ruysch

(Bohn Stafleu van Lochem, 2004, 517 pages)

Seventeenth-century anatomist Frederik Ruysch was world famous until well into the nineteenth century. His collection of carefully prepared, artistically displayed body parts in formaldehyde was one of Amsterdam’s top tourist attractions. On a visit in 1697 Peter the Great was so impressed by the true-to-life nature of the embalmed child corpses that he embraced and kissed them. Twenty years later he was able to take the entire collection to Russia, where it is preserved to this day in the Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg, in hundreds of jars and bottles.

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Dangerous Knowledge

Dangerous Knowledge

Inzicht en angst in de dagen van Jan Swammerdam

(Bert Bakker, 2007, 375 pages)

In the second half of the seventeenth century ‘modern’ naturalists turned their backs on traditional ideas and established reputations. By relying purely on their own observations they discovered how respiration works, that the heart is a muscle, how nerves function and how reproduction takes place. But the more they penetrated the secrets of creation the more their new knowledge undermined old certainties.

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