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Portret of Anna Maria van Schurman by Jan Lievens, 1649.

Home of Anna Maria van Schurman

Achter de Dom 8

A colossal lady — You are standing outside Achter de Dom 8, Anna Maria van Schurman’s old home. In those days, the street outside her house, the one you are looking down on now, used to be a tiny alley. While she was reading, Anna Maria had a wonderful view of the Dom. But she was more likely to be reading than staring out of the window.

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During history lessons we are often taught that Aletta Jacobs was the Netherlands’ first female student. But was she? Anyone who has heard of Anna Maria van Schurman says no, because actually it was Anna Maria who was the first female student to attend lectures at Utrecht University, and in the Netherlands and even in Europe.

Achter de Dom 8 is where Anna Maria lived during much of her time in Utrecht. The gable in the facade reminds us of this. If she were to sit behind the window now and look out, what would she think of the world around her?

Thanks to Pieta van Beek (annamariavanschurman.org)

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