Networks of Knowledge in Middelburg around 1600: The Context of Isaac Beeckman as a Young Man

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Isaac Beeckman’s innovative attitude to the study of nature has been attributed to his mixed training as both a craftsman and a scholar. More generally, the Dutch contribution to early modern science has been ascribed to three factors: (1) the easy mingling of scholars, merchants and craftsmen in the early Dutch Republic; (2) the vital role of the Dutch academic institutions as centres of both teaching and innovative research; and (3) a congruence of early scientifijic and mercantile activities and values in the early modern Dutch trading communities.
Against this background, this chapter examines the question of which persons and circumstances have contributed to Beeckman’s early education in his birthplace Middelburg. Although it appeared possible to identify early modern Middelburg as a fertile melting pot of mercantile, artisanal and learned contacts, this study underpins Van Berkel’s earlier conclusion that the life of the young Beeckman unfolded for the largest part in a milieu of Flemish immigrants, with no demonstrable connection to the Middelburg learned community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge and Culture in the Early Dutch Republic
Subtitle of host publicationIsaac Beeckman in Context
EditorsKlaas van Berkel, Albert Clement, Arjan van Dixhoorn
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages55
ISBN (Electronic)9789048551477
ISBN (Print)9789463722537
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameStudies in the History of Knowledge


  • Isaac beeckman
  • Middelburg
  • 17th century
  • History of Science


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