Home » today » Health » Exploring Cholera and Academic Health Care in 19th Century Leiden: Lecture and Grave Tour

Exploring Cholera and Academic Health Care in 19th Century Leiden: Lecture and Grave Tour

Sunday April 14, 2024 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM


On Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m. at the Groenesteeg cemetery, a meeting will be organized about cholera and academic health care in Leiden in the 19th century. After a short lecture by Gert van Dijk in the auditorium, there is a tour of the graves of several people connected to these topics. The auditorium is open from 1:30 PM and admission is free.

In the early 19th century, no one knew how an epidemic like cholera started. Some scientists blame it on ‘evil fumes’, and others blame it on something contagious, without knowing how that worked. There were no fewer than 6 cholera pandemics in that century. Poor sanitary conditions and unsafe drinking water increase the risk of cholera. This meant that in the 19th century, mainly poor people got this disease. Since mortality from cholera can reach more than 50%, many deaths occurred: in 1849, more than 23,000 of the approximately three million Dutch people died from cholera.

Leiden’s academic medical care was not really at the forefront of the world at the beginning of the 19th century, but later, in 1873, a new academic hospital was built, after a long tug-of-war and bickering over money between the city, university and government. The new knowledge about infectious diseases such as cholera played a role in this, leading, among other things, to the construction of ‘pavilions’: separate buildings that were intended to reduce the risk of contamination within the hospital. The ‘Leiden University Hospital’ was housed in a new building on Steenstraat, which later housed the Museum of Ethnology, now called the Wereldmuseum.

The speaker

Until his retirement, Gert van Dijk was a medical specialist at the AZL and later the LUMC. He now lives in the Meelfabriek with a view of the Groenesteeg cemetery. In the morning he walks through Leiden, looking for nice light to make city drawings in clear lines.

2024-04-13 12:03:13
#Cholera #academic #health #care #Leiden #19th #century

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.