The Galileo Project
site map

Tulp, Nicolaas

1. Dates
Born: Amsterdam, 11 October 1593
Died: The Hague, 12 September 1674
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 81
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant
Pieter Dirkz, a wealthy merchant.
Tulp himself first took this name, which means "tulip," from a decoration on the gable of his house.
3. Nationality
Birth: Dutch
Career: Dutch
Death: Dutch
4. Education
Schooling: Leiden, M.D.
Matriculated in 1611. M.D. in 1614.
I assume the equivalent of a B.A.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Calvinist
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine, Anatomy, Pharmacology
Subordinate: Zoology
His Observationum medicarum libri tres, 1641, contains 228 case histories.
He proposed the first pharmacopoeia of the Netherlands and apparently supplied most of its contents.
He first described the chimpanzee scientifically.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Government, City Magistrate
After taking his degree he settled in Amsterdam, where he quickly developed a lucrative practice.
He was appointed praelector of anatomy in 1618, a position he held until 1652. The position involved public lectures on anatomy and public dissection--see the famous painting by Rembrandt.
He was very prominent in the political life of Amsterdam and served four times as mayor.
8. Patronage
Type: None
I take it as obvious that his connections in Amsterdam materially forwarded his career. Nevertheless I did not find any mention of anything I would call patronage. Perhaps he was from the beginnning simply too prosperous to have need of patronage.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Medical Practice, Pharmacology
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Medical College
The Amsterdam Medical College was organized to enforce the decree that demanded sole use of Tulp's pharmacopoeia.
  1. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biographisch Woordenboek.
  2. G.A. Lindeboom, Dutch Medical Biography, (Amsterdam, 1984), pp. 2004-6.
  3. Evert D. Baumann, Uit drie eeuwen nederlandsche geneeskunde, (Amsterdam, 1951), pp. 64-71.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. G.A. Lindeboom, "Medical Aspect of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp," Janus, 64 (1977), 179-204.
  2. J.S. Theissen, "Nicolas (Claes Pieterz.) Tulp," in Gedenkboek van het Athenaeum en de Universiteit van Amsterdam, (Amsterdam, 1932), pp. 695-6.
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
Home | Galileo | Biography | Chronology | Family | Portraits |
Science | Christianity | Library | About | Site Map | Search

Please note: We will not answer copyright requests.
See the copyright page for more information.