Benthuizen

All we know about Leeuwenhoek's education comes from Reinier Boitet, who in 1729 expanded Bleyswyck's 1667 Beschryving der stadt Delft (Description of the City of Delft). Between beginning his primary schooling in Warmond beginning at age 8 and beginning his apprenticeship in Amsterdam at age 16, Antony left Warmond for another village - Benthuizen. Boitet wrote:

van daar vertrok hij naar Benthuizen, bij zijn oom, secretaris en procureur dier plaatse, om aldaar in de beginselen der geoeffent te worden.

from there, he moved to Benthuizen, with his uncle, secretary and attorney there, to become trained in the principles of law.

Leeuwenhoek's mother Margarietke van den Berch had an uncle, Cornelis Jacobs van den Berch, who married Elisabeth Heyndricks van Waert on 1630 11/23. After years in VOC service, he lived in Benthuizen after 1644, where as Boitet says, he was a city official. The image below shows the old "schouthuis" (sheriff's house) before it was torn down in the 20th century, courtesy of Marcus Pos of the Historische Kring Benthuizen. This is probably the house where Leeuwenhoek lived.

Note that Bentuizen, a small village 13 km (8 mi) northeast of Delft, is in the bottom right corner of the map above (oriented with west at the top), about 9 km (5.5 mi) southeast of Leiden. It appears to be a cluster of houses around a manor house. Administratively, Benthuizen was a high seigniory or manor (hoge ambachtsheerlijkheid). As distinguished from a low seigniory or manor, it had jurisdiction over capital crimes as well as the usual administrative, legislative, and tax-collecting functions. These powers were exercised by a sheriff appointed by the lord, sometimes also involving a bailiff and aldermen.

Originally the manors were owned by nobles. Later they were mostly bought by wealthy citizens and cities. I am not sure which situation better described Benthuizen when van den Berch was an official there. I am also not sure how his "secretary and attorney" fit the power structure.

In any event, Benthuizen was close enough that a teenaged Leeuwenhoek, after his midday meal, could have walked home to Delft for dinner.

Benthuizen today - It has fewer residents today than Warmond. The oldest structure seems to be the Molen de Haas, a grist mill built more than a century after van Leeuwenhoek lived there. Today, nothing remains in Benthuizen from the 17th century. The engraving above was made by Andries Schoemaker (1660-1735), an Amsterdam businessman who spent his last ten summers touring the Dutch countryside and making the drawings on which this plate is based. The pen and ink below is by Hendrik Tavenier from the late 1700's.