Early-modern Dutch Country Estates as Breeding Grounds for Learning, Material Culture and Knowledge Practices

Activiteit: Toespraak of presentatieAcademisch


In this session we argue that the early-modern country-estate was an important node in the practice of natural-history and philosophy in the Dutch Republic. At these locations bourgeois culture reached its zenith, being involved in the accumulation and construction of science and technology. Country-estates originally were closely associated with the city, a link nowadays mostly overlooked, as estate-owners lived part-time in the city and in the country. The participants in this session have applied for a NWO-grant to investigate this role of the country-estate as a meeting place and ‘laboratory’ in the production, accumulation, utilization, dissemination and exchange of knowledge about nature.
In this presentation some examples of this usage of country estates and its implications will be discussed. To name a few: Carolus Linnaeus developed his ideas on nature’s taxonomy at George Clifford’s Hartekamp (Heemstede); Abraham Trembley discovered the polyp through an improvement of the microscope at Willem Bentinck’s Sorgvliet (The Hague); innovations of VOC-ships were developed at Gerard Aernout Hasselaer’s Bosbeek (Heemstede); Holland’s first steam-engine was tested at Jan Hope’s Groenendaal (Heemstede); one of Europe’s first international meteorological weather stations was situated at Johan Adriaen van de Perre’s Westhove (Walcheren), and the first Dutch water-driven silk factory was installed at David van Mollem’s Zijdebalen (near Utrecht). Examples such as these demonstrate that Dutch country-estates constituted a location where regents, merchants, scholars, artists, artisans, gardeners, agriculturalists, travellers, sailors, and others could encounter one another in such a way that practical and theoretical knowledge was produced, circulated, displayed, (re-)worked and (re-)ordered.
Periode23 jun. 2017
Mate van erkenningNationaal