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Bidloo, Govard

1. Dates
Born: Amsterdam, 21 March 1649
Died: Leiden, 30 April 1713
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 64
2. Father
Occupation: No Information
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Netherlands
Career: Netherlands, England
Death: Netherlands
4. Education
Schooling: No University
Little is known about his education, but he must had received the traditional classical instruction, for at the age of 23 he translated a Latin anatomical treatise Ruysch into Dutch.
In 1670 he was apprenticed to a surgeon in Amsterdam and was obliged to attend Ruysch's anatomical lessons and Gerard Blasius' botany lessons at the Hortus medicus.
He matriculated st the University of Franeker on 2 May 1682, and received his M.D. three days later. (This is will not list.)
5. Religion
Affiliation: Sect, Calvinist
Both his parents were Dutch Baptists. Bidloo's career, and the lack of any comment about his religion make it evident that he learned to adhere to the established Calvinist church.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Anatomy
Subordinate: Microscopy
Bidloo's chief work was his anatomical atlas, published with a Latin text in 1685 and with a Dutch text in 1690, the first large scale anatomical atlas since Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica.
His anatomical atlas was plagiarized by Willim Cowper, who published in 1698 as The anatomy of humane bodies. Bidloo proved, in his other anatomical work, Opera omnia, that the nerves are not hollow tubes,as had been believed since the time of Galen, but are taut, transparent fibrous threads.
Bidloo is remembered as a biologist for his admirable work on the liver fluke. He described his work on this parasite in a letter to Leeuwenhoek.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Academia, Government
Secondary: Patronage
Note that in addition to his continuing medical practice Bidloo was also a surgeon.
1688- , Professor of anatomy at The Hague.
1694-1713, professor of medicine and surgery at the University of Leiden.
In 1689, Bidloo accompanied William III to England as his personal physician. Until William's death he was back and forth in England and the Netherlands, frequently in attendance on the King.
In 1690, William III appointed him "superintendent- general of all physicians, apothecaries and surgeons of the military hospitals of the Netherlands". In 1692 he was given the additional duty of supervising the English hospitals.
1701-1702, physician in ordinary to Williaw III.
He also served as a physician and surgeon with the army.
8. Patronage
Type: Court
Owed his supervisorship to William III.
His appointment at Leiden probably due to the influence of William III.
He dedicated his great Anatomy to Prince Casimir.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Royal Society, 1701-1713
  1. E.D.Baumann,"Govard Bidloo" in Nieuw nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek, 8, (1930), pp.104-108.
  2. F.Beekman, "Bidloo and Cowper, Anatomists" Annals of Medical History, n.s. (1935, pp.113-129.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. B.A.G.Veraart, "G.Bidloo's verhaal van de laatste ziekte en het overlijden van Willem III, Koning van Engeland" Bijdragen tot de geschiedenis der geneeskunde, 14 (1934), pp.203-210.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
Last updated
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