Upper floor

14 Front room

15 Office/Laboratory

16 Landing

17 Back room

This drawing shows two roofs: on the far left, the ledge (luifel) over the stoop; on the far right, the beginning of the roof of the gallery.

The upper floor of this house (called the first floor in Europe, the second floor in the U.S.) had a front room (#14) full of paintings. It was Leeuwenhoek's bedroom. His narrow office/study/laboratory (#15) was partitioned off from it in the northeast corner of the house. It had a window at looking onto the Hippolytusbuurt and a built-in bed at other end.

At the top of the stairs was a landing (#16). The large back room (#17) was also used as a bedroom and sitting room, probably by Maria, at least after her father's death. It had three built-in beds.

Front room (voorkamer)


length: 5.28 m (17 feet)

width: 3.36 m (11 feet)

size: 17.75 square meters (95 square feet)

The front room had a door or at least doorway to Leeuwenhoek's office and lap and a door to the landing. It also had a fireplace with "6 Delft plates in front of the chimney" and, overlooking the Hippolytusbuurt, a window. It was probably the standard cross-frame (kruiskozijn) window with shutters on the outside (buitenluiken) of the lower half. In a letter he writes about a fire that always fire in his room in the cold season.

The inventory list below notes a bedstead (ledikant) so this was probably the room where Leeuwenhoek slept. It was not very large, but given the tiny lab/office next to it, Leeuwenhoek's work may well have overflowed into his bedroom, especially after his second wife died in 1696. With the fireplace, it would have been the warmer of the two rooms.

Wrote Letter 19 of 1677-03-23 (AB 31) to Henry Oldenburg (6907)

After I had sent away my former Letter, I gave not over observing the animalcula in water; examining also distilled and boiled Waters. Last Winter, when the severe cold had killed [all] the little Creatures, observing the water thawed by the warmth of [the fire and after it had stood in my bedroom which was heated the whole day].

Making Maria's inventory, the notaries listed the following:

household goods in the front room

An old-fashioned kist (chest?) and in it some clothing, herefore gebracht

3 chairs

A bedstead with 1 blue curtain

An old-fashioned polished kas, there in some clothing, chintz, as others here for gebragt

A polished kisje

A small chair

A small mirror

6 Delft plates in front of the chimney

2 Delt bowls

2 ditto, with feet

A bookcase (boekkasje) with some books

paintings in the front room (schilderijen op de voorkamer)

A large landscape, a ditto

An old tronie

3 landscapes with gilded frames

1 painting with 3 pictures

1 old kop, 1 ditto

1 koetje, 2 scheepjes

2 octagonal paintings

1 small ditto octagonal

7 prints in frames

A family portrait

A landscape

Laboratory/office (comtoirtje)


length: 5.28 m (17 feet)

width: 1.68 m (5.5 feet)

size: 8.8 square meters (95 square feet)

This was a tiny room, about the width and two-and-a-half times the length of a medium-sized mattress today. In it, Leeuwenhoek did the bulk of his work, making microscopes, observing specimens, and writing letters. At one end was a built-in bed, a sleeping compartment, not included in the dimensions above. At the other end was a cross-frame window with shutters on the lower half, matching the window in the front room. It had a horizontal slit in the wall it shared with the front room so that Leeuwenhoek's spring-pole lathe had space to move back and forth.

This room is discussed in detail on the page titled Where did he work? See Related pages under Learn more below.

Making Maria's inventory, the notaries listed the following:

Some boxes, with papers

A small hanging kasje

Some rommelingh

1 small kapstokje

A wasbrieff??

Leeuwenhoek's tools and instruments, which would have been in this room, were listed in a separate article of the inventory.

Landing (portaaltje)

Making Maria's inventory, the notaries listed the following:

A hatstand (kapstokje)

A chair

Back room (achterkamer)

The room would have been Maria's, at least as long as her father was alive. Two windows looked over the courtyard. The inventory after her death lists only one bedstead, in the front room. Maria may well have slept in a built-in bed, a sleeping compartment.

Frans van Helden, who owned the house before Leeuwenhoek did, had eight underage children when he died, three girls and four boys as well as an infant son. There must have been at least three sleeping compartments. Young Leeuwenhoek, planning to have a family, would not have removed them, at least until he was sure he wasn't going to have any more chidren. children v.Helden). It is probable that they weren't removed.

Making Maria's inventory, the notaries listed the following:

A kist with a cloth and napkin on it

A mirror, 2 chairs

2 polished chairs

1 stilletje

1 kapstokje

1 polished ditto

1 Delft stel of 4 pieces, damaged

2 Delft platters, large and small

2 ditto rinsing bowls

1 Delft set of 3 piece

1 kleermande

A painting being a seashore

A ditto with horses etc.

A stone steene painting

A geborduurd schilderij with glass in front of it

A painting with fruit

5 prints in frames

1 bottle with slangetjes

1 ditto with haga?issen -- hagedissen?

1 dirro with duizendbeenen

3 large bottles

1 tonnetje

1 damborretje

1 mande basket with some bottles

Some Delft earthenware

Some old frames and rommelingh

A large polished kas, therein some cushions, blankets, as others brought here vore

A ditto smaller, there in some clothering, etc, here fore brought

A ditto yet smaller, there in some linen and woolen goods hierabove brought