Clusius project

Since 2004, the research project into Leiden botanist Carolus Clusius (1526-1609) has been sponsored by the Scaliger Institute. This is a collaboration of several researchers and departments within Leiden University and other (European) universities.

Clusius and his correspondents

Since 2004, the research project on Leiden botanist Carolus Clusius (1526-1609), entitled Carolus Clusius and sixteenth-century botany in the context of the new cultural history of science, is being performed. The three researchers which have been appointed as part of the granted NWO-application 'Programmatisch Onderzoek Geesteswetenschappen' are:

  • Dr F. Egmond (Post-doctoral programme) conducts research into the life and works of Clusius for the purpose of her monograph Natural history in the making. Carolus Clusius and the European community of naturalists
  • E. van Gelder, MA (trainee research assistant) is conducting his PhD research on Carolus Clusius and botany in the context of Habsburg court and aristocratic culture (ca. 1570-1590) (supervisor prof. Dr M.E.H.N. Mout)
  • S.M.W. van Zanen, MA (trainee research assistant) is conducting his PhD research on Exchange and language in Clusius’ European network of botanists: French and Latin (ca. 1560-1610) (supervisor prof. Dr P.J. Smith).

Aim of the project

Aims of the Clusius project:

  1. To digitalise and to make accessible via the Internet, the unique collection of letters between Clusius and around 300 correspondants.
  2. A research programme, consisting of two dissertations and a study about Clusius.
  3. To create a modern 'replica' of the European social network of Clusius.

During this research, extensive use will be made of the very large collection of correspondence (around 1500 letters) between Clusius and his connections. All these letters are now digitally available.

Here you will find a survey of all the correspondents in the database.

The final responsibility for the project lies with prof. dr. P.G. Hoftijzer.


Florike Egmond, Paul Hoftijzer and Robert Vissers (eds), Carolus Clusius in a new context: cultural histories of Renaissance natural science (Edita Publishers, Royal Dutch Academy, Amsterdam, 2006).

This volume contains essays based on papers presented at the international conference ‘Clusius in a New Context’ (Leiden, 23-25 September, 2004) as well as some additional essays. Provisional list of Contents

1. Rob Visser and Paul Hoftijzer (Leiden/Utrecht), 'Introduction'

Part I   Clusius’ network and exchanges

2. Florike Egmond (Leiden/Rome), 'Clusius and Friends: cultures of exchange in the circles of European naturalists'

3. Marie-Elisabeth Boutroue (Paris), 'Clusius’ correspondence in French collections'

4. Gillian Lewis (Oxford), 'Clusius’ early years in France'

5. José Luis Barona (Valencia), 'Clusius’ Spanish journey and his exchange of botanical information with Spanish scholars' Part II   Clusius and individual correspondents: two case studies

6. Dóra Bobory (Budapest), 'Qui me unice amabat. Carolus Clusius and Boldizsár Batthyány'

7. Kjell Lundquist (Lund), 'Lilies to Norway and cloudberry jam to The Netherlands ‑ on the correspondence and naturalia exchange between Clusius and Henrik Höjer 1597-1604'

Part III   Clusius’ translations and illustrations: processing information

8. José Pardo Tomás (Barcelona), 'Two glimpses of America from a distance: Carolus Clusius and Nicolás Monardes'

9. Peter Mason (Rome/Madrid), 'Americana in the Exoticorum Libri Decem of Charles de l’Écluse'

10. Sachiko Kusukawa (Cambridge), 'Uses of pictures in printed books: the case of Clusius’ Exoticorum Libri Decem'

Part IV   Ideas and influence of Clusius

11. Irene Baldriga (Rome), 'Clusius’ influence in Italy. Federico Cesi and the Accademia dei Lincei'

12. Andrea Ubrizsy Savoia (Rome), 'The ‘Clusius Codex’ and its influence; some aspects of Clusius’ Hungarian and Italian relations'

13. Sabine Anagnostou (Marburg), 'International transfer of medicinal drugs by the Society of Jesus (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries) and connections with the work of Carolus Clusius'

2. Jan de Koning, Alicia Zemanek and Bogdan Zemanek (eds), Botanical illustrations of the sixteenth century. An enquiry into the Libri Picturati A.18-30 (NHM [check], 2006/07)

This volume will for the first time publish, in full colour, the approx. 1300 botanical watercolours in the so-called Libri Picturati (Vols A.18-30) in Kraków. It also presents a historical introduction to these Libri Picturati, botanical identifications of the depicted plants and essays by botanical experts.

3. Florike Egmond, ‘Curious fish: connections between some sixteenth-century watercolours and prints’. In: Intersections 6 [Special Issue about ‘Representations of animals in early modern Europe’] (2006).

4. Florike Egmond, ‘A European community of scholars: exchange and friendship among early modern natural historians’. In: Rethinking the History of Europe. Images, Symbols, Discourses, edited by Diogo Curto Ramada and Anthony Molho (Florence, European University Institute, 2006).

5. Florike Egmond, ‘Correspondence and natural history in the sixteenth century: cultures of exchange in the circle of Carolus Clusius’. In: Francisco Bethencourt and Florike Egmond (eds), Correspondence in the age of printing (Cambridge, CUP, 2006).

6. Florike Egmond, ‘The making of the Libri Picturati A.16-30’. In: Jan de Koning, Alicia Zemanek and Bogdan Zemanek (eds), Botanical illustrations of the sixteenth century. An enquiry into the Libri Picturati A.18-30 (NHM, 2006) Already Published Florike Egmond, ‘Clusius, Cluyt, Saint Omer. The origins of the sixteenth-century botanical and zoological watercolours in Libri Picturati A. 16-30’. In: Nuncius XX (2005), p. 11-67


For all your questions, observations, suggestions and new information which are related to the Clusisus project, please contact the working group at

Access to the database

The Clusius Correspondence Database Manual gives you access to the correspondence database via a link, and is a useful manual about the method of operation and ways of searching the file.

Direct access is also possible: Digital Special Collections.

Last Modified: 15-06-2010