Pages tagged site guide

Overview: Where When What How

Where? The Netherlands: Delft When? The 1600's: The Golden Age of the Dutch Republic What? The Microscopic World: Protozoa and Bacteria How? Magnifying Glasses: Tiny Single Lenses


What's the biggest challenge? For you, when navigating this web? And for me, when making this web? Adapting a messy life, Leeuwenhoek's, full of inconsistent, incomplete information to a database that rewards consistency and regularity.

What to call it? Dutch terms used on this web

You will get only so far with Leeuwenhoek before you will have to learn Dutch. The secondary literature about his science is mostly in English. However, the secondary literature about his life and times and almost all of the primary sources are in Dutch. Some terms, due to cultural changes, don't have clear translations.

What will you find on this web?

The core of Lens on Leeuwenhoek are the documented facts about Leeuwenhoek's life and times. They are organized in three ways: when, who, where, and what.

What will you find on this web? - extended version

A tour of this web via the menus, the shorter upper menu and then the longer drop-down menu, item by item.

What will you not find on this web?

As of mid-2014, Lens on Leeuwenhoek has little information about Leeuwenhoek's scientific career, the glasses, the specimens, the observations, the letters, all the things that made him famous. If you are interested in such things, the Bibliography is your best bet.

Dutch spelling

Spelling the names of people and places on this web is the most significant area where a database's needs for regularity put pressure on historical accuracy. In addition, there are your needs for searching the contents of a database. As you'll see if you try to search the Delft property records at the Historisch GIS, it is very tedious to have to search for half a dozen variants for every person in each of the half a dozen likely sources. And what about the ones you don't imagine, such as Leeuwenhoek's father-in-law Elias de Meij, who sometimes spelled his first name Gillis?

How to find information on this web

According to Abel Tasman (right, Dutch discoverer of the Tasmanian Sea), Lens on Leeuwenhoek has four means of wayfinding: 1) the two menus across the top, 2) the taxonomy terms, 3) the alphabetical list of written content, and 4) the standard search function, accessible from the top right corner of every page. Note the Advanced search expandable menu for narrowing the results.

Note on Abbreviations

Abbreviations used on this web gl = Dutch gulden, English guilder Money at the time was sometimes expressed in florins and sometimes in guilders. I make no attempt to make equivalencies or adjust for relative value. I simply record the number on the document and designate them all as gl.

Where's the information from the old Lens on Leeuwenhoek web?

The material that was on that older version (September 2009 - October 2013) of Lens On Leeuwenhoek has been distributed througout this newer version, as detailed on the table below. You can also search the new site.