Dirck Rembrantsz van Nierop (1610–1682)
Throughout his life, Dirck van Nierop was based in Nieuwe Niedorp, the small town on the North Sea where he was born and where he died. A cartographer, mathematician, astronomer, teacher of navigation, and almanac-maker, he began life as a shoemaker but came to be respected for his mathematical knowledge and ability by a number of learned mathematicians, including René Descartes and Christiaan Huygens.
Partners and Additional Contributors
The Circulation of Knowledge project [CKCC] was established in 2008 as a partnership between the Descartes Centre at the University of Utrecht, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (Huygens ING), the Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), and the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The project began by digitizing the metadata and curating existing full-text transcriptions of c.20,000 letters to or from nine prominent intellectuals resident in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. In 2013, this material was published as open access in a sophisticated web application — the ePistolarium — which provides scholars with multiple means of exploring and analysing both metadata and full texts across all nine correspondences. As well as conducting full-text searches, mapping and graphing the metadata, and extracting people mentioned, the ePistolarium is capable of interrogating the entire corpus to analyse and visualize co-citation networks, and produces the results of keyword extraction and experimental topic-modelling.
CKCC’s 20,020 records represent the largest single dataset contributed to EMLO during the second phase of Cultures of Knowledge. The re-publication of these records within EMLO marks the inauguration of the rolling incorporation of major new catalogues which will continue through 2015 and beyond. As well as integrating CKCC’s metadata into an expansive union catalogue, EMLO’s records link back to the original letter texts published within the ePistolarium.
EMLO would like to thank Walter Ravenek for his careful preparation of CKCC metadata and Miranda Lewis for her work on the people and place records associated with the correspondence.
Key Bibliographic Source(s)
The metadata and texts for the transcriptions published in the ePistolarium were taken from Brieven door eenige wiskonstenaren geschreven aan Dirk Rembrantsz van Nierop, met zijne antwoorden op dezelve, ed. Jacob Oostwoud in Mathematische Liefhebberye, met het Nieuws der Fransche en Duytsche Schoolen in Nederland (1755–1762) and The correspondence of Dirck Rembrantsz van Nierop (1610–1682), ed. Marlise Rijks (The Hague, 2012).
Van Nierop’s surviving correspondence consists of c.80 letters, ranging from 1653 until the year of his death in 1682, during which time he corresponded with a number of natural scientists, mathematicians, and astronomers across Europe, including van Schooten and Helvelius.
The original manuscripts have been lost but, in the eighteenth century, a collection of his letters was published in the Maandelykse mathematische liefhebberij, a periodical begun by Jacob Oostwoud of Zaandam. This periodical, which ran from 1754 until 1769 and was created for teachers and school-keepers (in particular for those teaching mathematics and navigation), published sixty-eight letters in total, mainly to and from Van Nierop, although four of them were from Albert Jansz van Dam, his nephew-by-marriage.
As noted by Marlise Rijks in her edition, van Nierop’s correspondence is significant as it reveals how he circulated the knowledge provided to him by sailors returning from voyages that took them all over the world. Van Nierop spoke only Dutch.
Brieven door eenige wiskonstenaren geschreven aan Dirk Rembrantsz van Nierop, met zijne antwoorden op dezelve, ed. Jacob Oostwoud in Mathematische Liefhebberye, met het Nieuws der Fransche en Duytsche Schoolen in Nederland (1755–1762).
The correspondence of Dirck Rembrantsz van Nierop (1610–1682), ed. Marlise Rijks (The Hague, 2012; available through ‘Print on Demand’ at JouwBoek.nl, Voorburg, The Netherlands).