Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Linnaeus' Hammarby

Today we flew into Stockholm, Sweden, took a shuttle to Uppsala, dropped off our bags at the hotel and journeyed to the Linnaeus summer cottage.  A little history on Linnaeus:

Linnaeus was born in the countryside of southern Sweden.   He was a botanist, physician, and zoologist who pioneered binomial nomenclature.  He is known as the father of modern taxonomy as well as of modern ecology.  Linnaeus received most of his higher education at Uppsala University, and began giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He lived abroad between 1735 and 1738, where he studied and also published a first edition of his Systema Naturae in the Netherlands. He then returned to Sweden, where he became professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In the 1750s and 60s, he continued to collect and classify animals, plants, and minerals, and published several volumes. At the time of his death, he was one of the most acclaimed scientists in Europe.

During Linnaeus' time as Professor and Rector of Uppsala University, he taught many devoted students, 17 of whom he called "apostles". They were the most promising, most committed students, and all of them made botanical expeditions to various places in the world, often with his help. The amount of this help varied; sometimes he used his influence as Rector to grant his apostles a scholarship or a place on an expedition. To most of the apostles he gave instructions of what to look for on their journeys. Abroad, the apostles collected and organised new plants, animals and minerals according to Linnaeus' system. Most of them also gave some of their collection to Linnaeus when their journey was finished. Thanks to these students, the Linnaean system of taxonomy spread through the world without Linnaeus ever having to travel outside Sweden after his return from Holland. However, many of the apostles died during their expeditions.

Swedish king Adolf Frederick granted Linnaeus nobility in 1757. With his ennoblement, he took the name Carl von Linné (Latinized as Carolus a Linné), 'Linné' being a shortened and gallicised version of 'Linnæus', and the German title 'von' signifying his ennoblement. The noble family's coat of arms prominently features a twinflower, one of Linnaeus' favourite plants; it was given the scientific name Linnaea borealis in his honour by Gronovius. The shield in the coat of arms is divided into thirds: red, black and green for the three kingdoms of nature (animal, mineral and vegetable) in Linnaean classification; in the center is an egg "to denote Nature, which is continued and perpetuated in ovo." At the bottom is a phrase in Latin, borrowed from the Aeneid, which reads "FAMAM EXTENDERE FACTIS": we extend our fame by our deeds.

Linnaeus' Hammarby

Linnaeus felt Uppsala was too noisy and unhealthy, so he bought two farms in 1758: Hammarby and Sävja. The next year, he bought a neighbouring farm, Edeby. He spent the summers with his family at Hammarby; initially it only had a small one-storey house, but in 1762 a new, larger main building was added.  In Hammarby, Linnaeus made a garden where he could grow plants that could not be grown in the Botanical Garden in Uppsala. He began constructing a museum on a hill behind Hammarby in 1766, where he moved his library and collection of plants. A fire that destroyed about one third of Uppsala and had threatened his residence there necessitated the move.

Getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere.
We were dropped off approximately 15 miles outside of Uppsala, then walked 2 kilometers to Linnaeus' Hammarby.  It was such a lovely walk.  Fields of grains, wild apples, and beautiful blue skies.

I particularly enjoyed seeing all of the prints by Georg Dionysius Ehret that Linnaeus had pasted all over his walls.  What inspiration!

The Foragers

We were rather hungry at the end of our expedition so we foraged on wild apples and red clover.

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