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June 24, 1988

A History of Surgery: With Emphasis on the Netherlands

Author Affiliations

Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston

Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston


by Daniel De Moulin, 408 pp, with illus, $125, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers; Hingham, Mass, Kluwer Academic Publishers, distributors, 1988.

JAMA. 1988;259(24):3630. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720240082053

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The author—a surgeon and historian—has succeeded in his two objectives: he has melded the story of Dutch surgery with a comprehensive review of surgery from Hippocrates to the present. The reader can find an enormous amount of information drawn from many sources. Annotations and references abound. Illustrations are interesting and instructive; many have been published here for the first time. Details of social and political history form a necessary background for the theme of the book.

In the Netherlands the Golden Age was in the 16th century. The country controlled the seas and was wealthy. Philosophy, science, and the arts flourished; today everyone still recognizes Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Doctor Tulp. Leiden, with its university, and Amsterdam became centers where anatomy and medicine flourished. A succession of wars followed; the preeminence of Dutch medicine was short-lived. Thereafter the Dutch watched the rise of surgery in France, England, and Germany; they