The house of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek

Years: 2018

Commissioner: Prof. Dr. Charles van den Heuvel, Douglas Anderson

Supervision: Tijm Lanjouw

Modelling and research: Tijm Lanjouw, Douglas Anderson

Synopsis: 3D reconstruction of the house of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek in Delft

Project description:

The father of micro-biology Antoni van Leeuwenhoek worked and lived most of his life at a building called ‘Het Gulden Hoofd’ in the Hyppolitusbuurt in Delft. As this house does not exist anymore, the spatial context of van Leeuwenhoek’s famous discoveries has completely been lost. It is interesting that the Gulden Hoofd was a modestly sized house, and based on van Leeuwenhoek's descriptions of it, his lab or work room was one of the smallest spaces in his house. This contradicts depictions of van Leeuwenhoek at work, which commonly show him in a spacious laboratory. The reconstruction was intended to recontextualise and visualize the scholar and his work.

In this pilot project, a rough reconstruction of the architectural layout was made, based on sketches by J.H. Geertzenwijk, building historian. A detailed reconstruction of the laboratory and other spaces were intended to be part of a future follow-up study.


Van Leeuwenhoek's lab was located in the small room on the second floor, facing the street.
The house of van Leeuwenhoek in Delft, side view
The house of van Leeuwenhoek in Delft