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Timeline of Nicolaes Tulp
Nov 08, '21

Timeline of Nicolaes Tulp

Nicolaes Tulp (9 October 1593 – 12 September 1674) was a Dutch surgeon and mayor of Amsterdam.

1593 (0) Born Claes Pieterszoon, he was the son of a prosperous merchant active in civic affairs in Amsterdam.

In June 1593 Geertruidenberg would be captured and in 1594 Groningen. The province of Groningen, City and Ommelanden, was now admitted to the Union of Utrecht, as the seventh voting province. Drenthe was made a separate province with its own States and stadtholder (again William Louis), though Holland blocked its getting a vote in the States-General.

The Dutch fortresses, mostly outside the provinces of the Union of Utrecht proper, were garrisoned with mercenary troops that, though paid for the account of individual provinces, were under federal command since 1594. The Dutch Staatse leger (States Army) had therefore become a truly federal army, consisting mostly of Scottish, English, German and Swiss mercenaries, but commanded by a Dutch officer corps. This standing army almost trebled in size to 50,000 between 1588 and 1607.

1603 (10)

Twelve Years' Truce

The military upkeep and decreased trade had put both Spain and the Dutch Republic under financial strain. To alleviate conditions, a ceasefire was signed in Antwerp on 9 April 1609, marking the end of the Dutch Revolt and the beginning of the Twelve Years' Truce. The conclusion of this Truce was a major diplomatic coup for Holland's advocate Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, as Spain by concluding the Treaty, formally recognised the independence of the Republic. In Spain the truce was seen as a major humiliation—she had suffered a political, military and ideological defeat, and the affront to its prestige was immense. The closure of the river Scheldt to traffic in and out of Antwerp, and the acceptance of Dutch commercial operations in the Spanish and Portuguese colonial maritime lanes were just a few points that the Spanish found objectionable.

Although there was peace on an international level, political unrest took hold of Dutch domestic affairs.

1613 (20) - From 1611 (18) to 1614 (21) he studied medicine in Leiden.

When he returned to Amsterdam he became a respected doctor and in 1617 (24) he married Aagfe Van der Voegh. An ambitious young man, he adopted the tulip as his heraldric emblem and changed his name to Nicolaes (a more proper version of the name Claes) Tulp.

Dutch intervention in the early stages of the Thirty Years' War (1619–1621).

He began working in local politics as city treasurer, and in 1622 (29) he became magistrate in Amsterdam.

The Republic under siege (1621–1629).

1623 (30)

Thanks to his connections on the city council, in 1628 (35) Tulp was appointed Praelector Anatomiae at the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons. His wife died in the same year, leaving him with five young children.

The Republic sallies forth (1629–1635)

's-Hertogenbosch surrendered in September 1629 to Frederick Henrik.

In 1630 (37) he married his second wife, the daughter of the mayor of Outshoorn and she bore him three children.

Rembrandt's event depicted in the painting can be dated to 16 January 1632; (39) the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons, of which Tulp was official City Anatomist, permitted only one public dissection a year and the body would have to be that of an executed criminal.

Frederik Hendrik at the surrender of Maastricht, 22 August 1632

1633 (40)

Shocked at the exorbitant prices asked for useless anti-plague medicines (Amsterdam was severely hit by the plague in 1635), Tulp (42) decided to do something about it. He gathered his doctor and chemist friends together and they wrote the first pharmacopoeia of Amsterdam in 1636 the Pharmacopoea Amstelredamensis. The Apothecary guild would require an exam based on Tulp's book for new chemists to set up shop in Amsterdam. This pharmacopoeia became a standard work and set an example for all the other cities of Holland.

It became a successful trade and in 1636 there were 66 apothecaries in Amsterdam.

"The Book of Monsters"

His most impressive work on medicine was his Observationes Medicae, published in 1641 (48)

Professor Tulp

Though already well known at the time his book was written, Professor Tulp enjoyed international fame after publishing this book, and in 1652 a second edition was printed, highly unusual at that time. His book comprises 164 cases from his practise, kept in a diary from his early career onwards. His book was illustrated with plates, and it is not clear who drew these or engraved them. According to various sources, he drew many of these himself. His birth name was Claes Pietersz. He adopted the name Tulp when he had a Tulip shaped sign placed outside his door when he set up shop in Amsterdam. Many of his early patients could not read or write. He soon no longer needed to advertise his services, however, and his many duties as Praelector, and later, mayor of the city of Amsterdam, prevented him from spending so much time on his practise. He published the book 5 years after the Amsterdam Pharmacopoeia was completed, which was his own personal initiative, and that helped to set intercity medical standards in the region known as the United Provinces.

Franco-Dutch Alliance (1635–1640)

1643 (50)

Endgame (1640–1648)

Peace of Münster (1648).

In the broader context of the treaties between France and the Holy Roman Empire, and Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire of 14 and 24 October 1648, which comprise the Peace of Westphalia, but which were not signed by the Republic, the Republic now also gained formal "independence" from the Holy Roman Empire, just like the Swiss Cantons. In both cases this was just a formalisation of a situation that had already existed for a long time. France and Spain did not conclude a treaty and so remained at war until the peace of the Pyrenees of 1659. The peace was celebrated in the Republic with sumptuous festivities. It was solemnly promulgated on the 80th anniversary of the execution of the Counts of Egmont and Horne on 5 June 1648.

Dutch trade on the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean exploded in the decade after the peace, as did trade in general, because trade patterns in all European areas were so tightly interlocked via the hub of the Amsterdam Entrepôt. Dutch trade in this period reached its pinnacle; it came to completely dominate that of competing powers, like England, that had only a few years previously profited greatly from the handicap the Spanish embargoes posed to the Dutch.

1653 (60)

Partially as a result of the success of his books, Tulp became Mayor of Amsterdam in 1654, (61) a position he held for four terms.

His son Dirck married Anna Burgh, the daughter of Albert Burgh, another Mayor of Amsterdam who had, like Tulp, studied medicine in Leiden in 1614. In 1655 Tulp's daughter Margaretha married Jan Six, whom he helped become a Magistrate of family affairs in Amsterdam. Years later, Six would also become Mayor of Amsterdam. Tulp, impressed by his behaviour, invited Paulus Potter to come to Amsterdam, after a quarrel in the Hague.

1663 (70)

1673 (80)

In 1673 Tulp was admitted to the Governing Committee of the Republic in The Hague.

1674 (8O years 11 months)

Legacy and death

Tulp is buried in the New Church of Amsterdam. Joost van den Vondel, a period poet, wrote several verses about Tulp. Besides the famous painting by Rembrandt there are more paintings and marble and bronze statues of him. The Holstein painter Jurriaen Ovens painted him twice, as his son and daughter. Also Artus Quellijn made a portrait.



Nov 08, '21
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