Antonie Philips Van Leeuwenhoek


Antonie Philips Van Leeuwenhoek

Delft, Delft Municipality, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Death 26 Aug 1723 (aged 90)
Delft, Delft Municipality, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Burial Delft, Delft Municipality, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Memorial ID 6374199 View Source
Suggest Edits

Scientist. Known as the “Father of Modern Microbiology”. Born in Delft, Holland, he received only an elementary education and spoke only Dutch, but made some of the most important discoveries in biological history. After serving as an apprentice in a linen-draper shop, in 1654, he started a business as a fabric merchant while also working as a wine assayer, city official and surveyor. After reading the book “Micrographia” he became interested in microscopes (compound microscopes. He not use the compound microscope (which use more than one lens and were invented around 1595) to make his observations. He grinded small lenses of short focal length and obtained a resolving power that was greater than that of the early compound microscopes. He began making observations of various specimens while making over 500 microscopes (less than ten have survived). The three to four-inch long microscopes were simple devices, which had one lens mounted in a small hole in a brass plate. The specimens were mounted on a sharp point that stuck up in front of the lens. The focus and position could be adjusted by turning two screws. Leeuwenhoek was very patient and a careful observer. With his very sharp eyesight, he examined materials such as rain water, small insects, muscle fibers, skin tissues, and many other specimens. He made drawings and notes of his observations. In 1674, he made the first observations of microbes, becoming one of the greatest seminal discoveries in history. He described many types of bacteria and protozoa and calculated their sizes. In 1677, he became the first person to describe spermatozoa and was one of the earliest to describe red blood corpuscles. He wrote letters to the Royal Society of London, the leading scientific society during that time, and corresponded with them for fifty years, detailing his observations with his microscopes. The letters were translated into English and Latin and published in the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society”. In 1680, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of England and was also a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in Paris. In a letter written to the Royal Society, the pastor of the New Church at Delft wrote about Leeuwenhoek, “For which reason, by diligence and tireless labour he made with his own hand certain most excellent lenses, with the aid of which he discovered many secrets of Nature, now famous throughout the whole philosophical World”. (bio by Richard Kaplan)

Family Members



Hier rust Anthony van Leeuwenhoek
Outste lit van de konincklijke
Sosyteyt in Londe gebooren binnen de
Stadt Delft op de 24 October 1632
En overleeden op de 26 Augustus 1723
Out synde 90 jaar 10 mnd en 2 dagen
Tot den leeser
Heeft elke wandelaer alom
Ontzagh voor hoogen ouderdom
En wonderlijke gaven
Soo set eerbiedig hier uw stap
Hier ligt de grijse weetenschap
In Leeuwenhoek begraven

En Maria van Leeuwenhoek
Desselfs Docter, gebooren te Delft den 22
September 1656 overleeden den 25 April 1745
Here rests Anthony van Leeuwenhoek
oldest member of the Royal society in London
Born in the city of Delft on 24th of October 1632
and died on the 26th of August 1723
at the age of 90 years, 10 months and 2 days
to the reader
that all walker (maybe visitor..?) have respect for high age and great gifts (or talent)
so place your step respectfully
here lies the gray science buried in Leeuwenhoek

Maria van Leeuwenhoek
Doctor herself, born in Delft on the 22nd
September 1656. Died 25th of April 1745


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees


See more Van Leeuwenhoek memorials in:


How famous was Antonie Philips Van Leeuwenhoek?

Current rating:

66 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Jim Tipton
  • Added: 27 Apr 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6374199
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Antonie Philips Van Leeuwenhoek (24 Oct 1632–26 Aug 1723), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6374199, citing Oude Kerk, Delft, Delft Municipality, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands ; Maintained by Find A Grave .