Discover Antoni's Delft - and delve into the science of microbiology

Like to discover and explore new things? Venture off the beaten path? Challenge yourself? Be inspired by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and embark on a journey of discovery in Delft!​

On August 26 1723, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek died at the age of 90 after a life full of wonder, observations and discoveries. Through his self-made lenses, he showed a micro-universe never before seen by a human being. Imagine discovering a totally unknown world. How do you know what you see? How do you show it? And how do you convince others that the world is very different from what they think?

Who was Antoni van Leeuwenhoek?

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek was born in 1632 in Delft, where he spent his entire life living and working. He became interested in astronomy, maths, physics, and chemistry at an early age. Antoni is known for discovering most of the micro-organisms we know today (except fungi and viruses). He made his discoveries using a microscope of his own design and make; his invention remains the basis of the microscopes we still use today.

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek zittend

Would he have known Dutch master painter Johannes Vermeer?

Would Antoni and Johannes have known each other? They might well have! Antoni and Johannes are both registered on the same page in the baptism record at the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft. View the page here! We also suspect that Antoni served as a model for two of Johannes’ paintings, The Geographer and The Astronomer. And Antoni was also the executor of Johannes’ estate. What do you think? Would they have known each other?

Dame kijkend naar replica van het Meisje met de Parel in het Vermeer Centrum Delft

Follow the footsteps of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek

Follow the footsteps of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek with the free walking route and get to know the famous citizen of Delft and the founder of microbiology. Discover the 12 important places from his life. 

Uitzicht op de Oostpoort in Delft