Dark tourism past and present

Last Saturday, the Travel section of my Dutch newspaper, the Volkskrant, featured a short article on ‘dark tourism,’ the phenomenon of people leisurely visiting places that are reminders of death, suffering or the macabre. Examples are Auschwitz, the Anne Frank house and graveyards, but also the Body Worlds exhibitions. According to Philip Stone, director ofContinue reading “Dark tourism past and present”

Mercury: back to the source

Over the past few months, as I learned more and more about the use of quicksilver in eighteenth-century chemistry and medicine, I became increasingly curious about the origins of all this mercury. The chemistry of the eighteenth century was a science of materials, materials that allowed various ways of inquiry: descriptions were made, technological possibilitiesContinue reading “Mercury: back to the source”

Alchemy on the Amstel: a visit to the Ritman Library

In September last year, I heard of the Amsterdam Ritman Library or Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica for the first time. I had been wanting to see the exhibition ‘Alchemy on the Amstel‘ (until 20 September 2013) ever since, and last week I finally got a chance. On a sunny afternoon I cycled to the library, hiddenContinue reading “Alchemy on the Amstel: a visit to the Ritman Library”