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‘Archimedes in kundigheit, Ulisses in beleit, Achilles in dapperheit’. Het Album Amicorum van Klaas Willem Kiers (c. 1722/1759), ingenieur-modellist van stadhouder Willem IV

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Author(s): Frida van Til

Journal: Studium : Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteits-Geschiedenis
ISSN 1876-9055

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 61;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Album Amicorum | military engineers | scientific models | 18th century

ABSTRACT
The Album Amicorum of Klaas Willem Kiers (c. 1722/1759), military engineer and model maker of the Dutch Stadtholder Willem IVThis paper focuses on the importance of the Album Amicorum as a source of biographical information. Presented is the case of Klaas Willem Kiers, an engineer from Groningen, who was employed by the Dutch Stadtholder Willem IV for the fabrication of scientific models for his cabinet of experimental philosophy in The Hague. Kiers also taught the young hereditary prince – the later Willem V – the basic principles of fortification. After the sudden death of the stadholder, Kiers served as a lieutenant- engineer in the Army of the Dutch Republic. At that time he started an Album Amicorum, in which he collected inscriptions from various prominent countrymen. Kiers’ case demonstrates how this source can provide precious information about one’s biography. We can, among others, reconstruct Kiers’ education, his connections at the Stadholderly court and the other social levels in which he operated. Kiers probably used some of these connections to start in 1758 a chemical factory in Amsterdam for the production of soap and saltpetre. In short, Kiers’ album provides a unique testimony of the Dutch scientific culture in the mid-1750s.
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