About the Stevin Centre

The Stevin Centre for History of Science and Humanities is a university-wide collaboration that aims to bring together staff members of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with an interest in the history of science, the humanities and other academic disciplines. The aim of the centre is to promote historical awareness with regard to knowledge (including people, ideas, institutions, norms and practices) among students, academics and the public. To this end members of the Stevin Centre offer courses on the history of science and the humanities at the BA and MA levels and organize workshops, colloquia and seminars. The Stevin Centre is also a platform for research in the history of science and the humanities at the Vrije Universiteit. The Stevin Centre is a part of the interdisciplinary Research Institute CLUE+ of the Vrije Universiteit and responsible for one of the major research themes of CLUE+: ‘knowledge formation and its history’.

Simon Stevin

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.


The Stevin Centre offers a large number of courses in the history of academic knowledge in general as well as specific disciplines, as a contribution to the balanced education of our students. The Centre also organizes seminars and conferences that are open to anyone who is interested.