Contemporary accounts of Swammerdam’s work
Swammerdam’s science

His life and work

Nerve function


Bees and ants

"The Bible of Nature"

Amazing drawings

Techniques and microscopy


Swammerdam’s life



A fake “portrait”

Science in society

Empiricism and religion

Mysticism and modern science

Illustrations and their meaning

Swammerdam in culture

Swammerdam's world

Friends and contemporaries

Contemporary accounts

On-line resources

Under construction:

Discussions of Swammerdam’s work

A bibliography of Swammerdam's works


Edward Browne

In 1668, the English traveller Edward Browne visited Amsterdam. He later published an account (1677) of this journey, entitled “An Account of Several Travels through a Great Part of Germany”. Here he describes his contact with various physicians and scientists in Amsterdam:

“During my stay at Amsterdam, I had the opportunity of seeing divers Learned Men, and Persons of Note. Dr. Ruish shewed us many Curiosities in Anatomy, as the Skeletons of young Children, and Fœtus's of all Ages, neatly set together, and very white; the Lymphatick vessels so preserved, as to see the valves in them. A Liver excarnated, showing the Minute vessels, all shining and clear. The Muscles of Children dissected and kept from corruption: entire Bodies preserved; the face of one was very remarkable, without the least spot or change of colour or alteration of the lineaments, from what might be expected immediately after death: he had then kept it two years, and hoped it would so continue. Dr. Swammerdam shewed us divers of his Experiments which he hath set down in his Treatise De Respiratione; and a very fair Collection of Insects brought from several Countries; a Stagg-fly of a very great bigness; and Indian Scolopendria, or Forty-foot; a fly called Ephemeron, and many other Curiosities. Old Glawber the Chymist shewed us his Laboratory: And we received much civility from Blasius the Physick Professour who hath wrote a Comment upon Veslingius.”

(This transcription, by James Eason, is taken from the full on-line text of Browne's book, available here.)

Reviews in the world’s first scientific journal, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London

Philosophical Transactions, 1667, p. 534-5.
(Available online: click here)

Philosophical Transactions, 6 (1670), 2078-2081.
(Available online: click here)

An account of Swammerdam’s insect dissections

‘Lettre anonyme, October 24 1669’ in Brown, H. (1934) Scientific Organizations in Seventeenth Century France (1620-1680) (Baltimore), 280-281.