The Stevin Centre for History of Science and Humanities is a collaboration of staff members from different faculties of the VU University Amsterdam. It was opened on March 18, 2014. Members of the Stevin Centre offer English- or Dutch-taught courses on the history of science and the humanities at the BA and MA levels. The Stevin Centre is also a platform for research in the history of science and the humanities at the VU University and it organizes workshops, colloquia and seminars. The Stevin Centre collaborates with the interdisciplinary Research Institute CLUE of the VU University.
The Centre is named after the polymath Simon Stevin (1548-1620), who was born in Bruges, but lived from 1581 in what is now the Netherlands. Stevin developed a wide range of activities, in which knowledge and knowledge practices always played a central role. He not only advised Prince Maurice about fortifications and dyke building, he was also involved in the foundation of an engineering school in Leiden and he published on urban house construction. He advocated not only the use of decimal fractions, but also the use of the living Dutch instead of the dead Latin language. He occupied himself not only with mathematics, perspective and mechanics, but also with bookkeeping, accounting and music theory. He was concerned about the principles of good citizenship, and he expressed himself on the education of youth. An intense desire for the return to a peaceful and perfect society is manifest in several of his writings.