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The Historical Zierikzee Herbarium 36ECTS

Trace the origin of the Zierikzee herbarium, by indentifying specimens from the beautiful Zierikzee Herbarium.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Tinde van Andel (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Clusius chair of History of Botany and Gardens, Leiden University)

Carolien Fokke (Stadhuismuseum Zierikzee).

 Contact: tinde.vanandel@naturalis.nl

Study & level: MSc Biology.

Background: The Stadhuismuseum Zierikzee in Zeeland holds a herbarium of 368 loose sheets, probably collected around 1680-1705. The collection contains Dutch species, but also several exotic specimens, probably brought from overseas. In the 17th and 18th century, the Zeeland harbours were important for the trading ships of the Dutch East and West India Company. These ships also brought plant specimens from exotic areas, much sought after by Dutch botanists. The specimens of the Zierikzee herbarium are mounted with labels in the form of ornamental vases, which was fashionable in the period 1730-1750. Preliminary research has been done on the age of the paper and the pre-Linnaean plant names of the Zierikzee herbarium (De Valk, 2010; De Graaf, 2016), but the plants have never been identified according to modern taxonomic standards.


Aims: To trace the origin of the Zierikzee herbarium, by means of identifying the specimens, mostly from digital images and answer the following research questions:


1. Which plant species are present in the Zierikzee herbarium?

2. Where do these plant species occur?

3. What is the relation between the pre-Linnaean identifications and the book Pinax Theatri Botanici (1623) by Caspar Bauhin (1560-1624)?

4. How does the Zierikzee herbarium relate to contemporary historic collections, such as the herbaria by Van Royen, D’Oignies and de Gorter, housed by Naturalis?

5. Who could possibly have made this herbarium?



Plant identification wil be done by using digital images and reference collections in the Naturalis herbarium, in cooperation with two botanists studying the D’Oignies herbarium, which is quite similar to the Zierikzee herbarium. The book by Munting (1696) ‘Nauwkeurige beschrijving der Aardgewassen’ and the Snippendaal Catalogus (https://web.archive.org/web/20071021104024/http://www.dehortus.nl/documenten/snippendaal_catalogus_200907.pdf) will be used to trace pre-Linnaean plant names. Study of the paper and the archives of the Stadhuismuseum and other Zierikzee archives will be done to trace the age of the paper and the maker of the herbarium.

Expected output: The results of this study will be presented in a scientific paper in English, to be submitted to a relevant scientific journal and a popular-scientifc article in Dutch. The digital images of the herbarium will be made available with their pre-Linnaean names, current scientific names and transcription of the labels on a user-friendly website (e.g. wordpress), linked to the website of the Stadhuismuseum Zierikzee (http://www.stadhuismuseum.nl).

Necessary background: Knowledge of Dutch. Knowledge of the Dutch flora and tropical plant families. Course: Plant Families of the Tropics course (Univ. Leiden).

Interest in History and the History of Botany. Some knowledge of (botanical) Latin. 

Photo: page from the Zierikzee herbarium



De Graaf, M. 2016. A Full Description of The Herbarium of Zierikzee. University College Roosevelt.


De Valk, M. 2010. Het herbarium van de stedelijke musea Zierikzee: Beschrijving en conserveringsadvies.


Bertin, A.T. 2016. The historic herbarium of Simone D'Oignies (1780) and its current scientific importance. MSc thesis, Leiden University.


Bouman et al. 2007. Kruidenier aan de Amstel: De Amsterdamse Hortus volgens Johannes Snippendaal (1646). Amsterdam University Press.


Munting. A. 1696. De Nauwkeurige beschrijving van Aardgewassen