Friedrich Wilhelm Tobias Hunger

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From left after right Stephen d'Irsay , Arnold C. Klebs , Henry E. Sigerist , Karl Sudhoff , Friedrich Wilhelm Tobias Hunger , Owsei Temkin . Leipzig 1929

Friedrich Wilhelm Tobias Hunger (* 1874 in Amsterdam , † 1952 in Voorschoten ) was a Dutch botanist and science historian.

Live and act

Born in Amsterdam as the son of a tobacco dealer, Hunger studied botany in Leiden and graduated with a doctorate. Research stays in Jena and Brussels followed . In 1899 he was appointed to Buitenzorg in West Java in the Botanical Garden of Buitenzorg (Lands Plantentuin) to research the living, cultivation and disease conditions of tropical crops. He stayed there until 1911, the last two years as head of the research station.

Back in the Netherlands, he built a reputation in the history of medicine and botany. Between 1917 and 1923 he was a private lecturer in the history of biology at the University of Leiden . In the winter semester 1932/1933 he belonged to a group of historians who researched the science of the Renaissance under the direction of Johan Huizinga . In 1936 he became director of the Institute for the History of Medicine and Natural Sciences in Leiden. He organized memorial events, e.g. B. via Clusius (1926) and Boerhaave (1938).

Leiden 1938. FWT Hunger (left) and BWTh. Nuyens (1866-1945)

During the Second World War, Hunger maintained close contacts with colleagues in Germany and Austria until 1943. In his work on the Clusius biography he worked closely with Robert Teichl and Albert Massiczek, both of whom were dismissed after the war because of their membership in the NSDAP. The four hundredth anniversary of Paracelsus' death was celebrated in 1941 both in Salzburg (place of death) and in Einsiedeln (place of birth). Hunger chose the Salzburg event and from there sent an address of thanks to the German Führer . After the war, the Society for the History of Medicine and the Natural Sciences started expulsion proceedings against Nazi-charged members. Johann Theunisz, with whom Hunger had worked closely, turned out to be a member of the Dutch National Socialist Movement (NSB) and was expelled. Hunger refused to draw personal conclusions, but was forced to resign from office in 1946. It became known that he had been in close contact with the mayor of Leiden, Raimond N. de Ruijter (NSB member from the very beginning).

Fonts (selection)

  • Overzicht der Zietken en Beschadigingen van het blad bij deli tobacco . In: Mededeelingen uit`s Lands Plantentuin XLVII. G. Kolff & Co., Batavia 1901 (digital copy)
  • Een Bacterie-Ziekte the Tomato . In: Mededeelingen uit`s Lands Plantentuin XLVIII. G. Kolff & Co., Batavia 1901 (digital copy)
  • Statistics about the regenval van de tabaks-ondernemingen ter Sumatra's Oostkust . In: Mededeelingen uit`s Lands Plantentuin LXIX. G. Kolff & Co., Batavia 1904 (digitized version)
  • Cocos nucifera. Handboek voor de kennis van den cocos-palm in Nederlandsch-Indië, zijne geschiedenis, beschrijving, cultuur en producten. Amsterdam 1916
  • Charles de l'Écluse (Carolus Clusius) Nederlandsch kruidkundige, 1526–1609 . 2 parts, The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1927–1943. (Text in Dutch and German, documents in Latin.)
  • Bernardus Paludanus (Berent ten Broecke) (1550-1633) . In: Janus Volume 32 (1928), pp. 352–364 (digitized version )
  • as editor: The Herbal of Pseudo-Apuleius . From the ninth-century manuscript in the abbey of Monte Cassino (Codex Casinensis 97) together with the first printed edition of Johannes Philippus de Lignamine (Editio princeps, Romae 1481), both in facsimile, described and annotated. Brill, Leyden 1935.


  • Esther van Gelder. Friedrich Wilhelm Tobias Hunger (1874–1952). Biography of botanical heroes en ʻanti-vaderlanderʾ. In: Studium (Rotterdam) 6 (3): 246–250. December 2013 (digitized version)

Individual evidence

  1. Henry E. Sigerist . A Boerhaave pilgrimage in Holland . In: Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Volume 7 (1939), pp. 257-275