University of Harderwijk

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Harderwijk, tower: het Linnaeustorentje

The University of Harderwijk (1648–1811), also named the Guelders Academy (Latin: Academia Gelro-Zutphanica), was located in the city Harderwijk, in the Republic of the United Provinces (now: the Netherlands). It was founded by the province of Guelders (Gelre).


The university of Harderwijk didn't have a good reputation, because of its low standards. Nevertheless, it attracted many students with its low fees. Many students went to Harderwijk to graduate. In Samuel Johnson's Life of Herman Boerhaave, it says:

"He went to Hardewich, in order to take the degree of doctor in physick, which he obtained in July, 1693, having performed a publick disputation, "de utilitate explorandorum excrementorum in ægris, ut signorum."

The title of this Latin disputation in English is "On the usefulness of examination of excrement as a sign of disease".

The most famous foreign graduate, Linnaeus, stayed only a week, much of which time was spent printing his dissertation. The saying was that rich students could afford Leiden University and the poorer ones had to make do with Harderwijk. In many European cities, it was not possible to get a doctor's degree, and the Netherlands had a reputation for producing very good doctors. David de Gorter is a great example of such a doctor. He was a professor at the University of Harderwijk and friends with Linnaeus. He also was a royal physician to Empress Elizabeth of Russia.

The university was closed in 1811 during the French occupation. Later, king William I tried to re-establish the university, without success.

A saying in the Netherlands for a person whose scientific knowledge is questionable is "he's from the University of Harderwijk"[citation needed].

Modern culture[edit]

In the 1990s, The University became more known to a new audience thanks to the fictional character Prof. Fetze Alsvanouds ("Als vanouds" loosely translated as "like the good old days"), who was played by Aart Staartjes and regularly appeared in the Dutch children's television program Het Klokhuis. Alsvanouds was a professor at the University of Harderwijk, and he declaimed all kind of false and often ridiculous 'scientific' explanations for common things in everyday life for children.

Notable alumni[edit]

Some well-known graduates of the University of Harderwijk are

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°20′58″N 5°36′59″E / 52.34944°N 5.61639°E / 52.34944; 5.61639