• Joost van den Vondel by J.D. Bles, a drawing from 1843.

    The first Dutch poet laureate

    Vondel was the greatest poet of the Golden Age and one of the greatest poets ever to have written in Dutch. Over the centuries Vondel remained famous, but also controversial.

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    • Detail of the portrait of P.C. Hooft by Michiel van Mierevelt.

    From grain merchant to aristocrat

    When we think of the Golden Age, we think of Hooft: an atypical Dutchman – cultivated, generous tolerant and courteous. His poems are still read and sung today, and his plays are performed regularly.

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    • Detail of the portrait of Petrus Francius, standing in front of the memorial to Michiel de Ruyter in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

    Two big hitters

    Everyone has heard of Michiel de Ruyter, but hardly anyone knows of Petrus Francius, shown here when he was in his forties. Yet the latter was celebrated throughout Europe. Pieter de Frans was a professor at the Athenaeum Illustre, the precursor to the University of Amsterdam.

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    • The old card catalogue of the University Library on Singel in 1956.

    Humble monuments

    The old catalogues of the University Library are preserved with care – and rightly so, because each is a monument to scholarship. They show us what the library looked like at various points in its long history.

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    • Manuscript by Gerardus Vossius. Photo: Monique Kooijmans.

    Founding father of the UvA

    Gerardus Vossius was actually an immigrant: he was born near Heidelberg. The scholarly Vossius died a citizen of Amsterdam, however; and what’s more, he was one of the founding fathers of the UvA.

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    • Hugo de Vries, painted by Thérèse Schwarze in 1918, painting a plant of the species Oenothera, his most important test plant.

    A new Golden Age

    Is there a link between economic growth, science and art? Of course there is! And nowhere else was this clearer than in Amsterdam in the final quarter of the nineteenth century.

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