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10 Dutch Inventions and Discoveries

Don’t get fooled by the fact that The Netherlands seems like a relatively small country on the map. The Dutch have made a lot of contributions that have shaped the world as we know it and here is a list comprising the 10 most prominent ones.

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1) The Dutch father and son Hans and Zacharias Janssen were the inventors of the first microscope. It was made of two single glass lenses and was a stepping stone not only for the development of the modern day much more complex microscope but also for the understanding of living organisms.

2) In 1676, Anton van Leeuweenhoek was the first person to observe bacteria. He described it as small creatures but it was only in 1828 when they were given their present name.

3) Plant respiration and photosynthesis are a vital part of the cycle that keeps the life on our planet going. The first person to discover these processes was Jan Ingenhausz, who in 1779 described how all life on Earth depends on the production of oxygen by plants.

4) The Dutch introduced not only the microscope in order to help us explore matters as small as the organelles of a cell, but they also invented the telescope in order to explore big objects at a long distance. It was patented by Hans Lippershey and later on a crater on the Moon was named after him in honor of his contribution.

5) Saturn’s rings were first examined by Galileo Galilei in 1610 but his means for observation were not good enough for him to determine their shape or nature. It was only 45 years later that Christian Huygens actually distinguished two rings made of dust and ice.

6) The Dutch were the ones who also discovered Australia in 1606 when a ship called Duyfken with William Jansz as captain reached the shores of Gulf of Carpentaria. Other Dutch missions got to know different parts of the continent through continuous exploration.

7) Cornelius Drebbel was a Dutch inventor who created the first submarine that could actually be navigated. He kept building more submarines with each one being bigger than the previous one. Some could carry up to 16 people. Since he was working for the Royal Navy at the time, the submarine was tested first in UK.

8) The artificial kidney is the actual machine that performs dialysis on patients with acute or chronic kidney conditions. The machine fulfills the functions of the kidneys and despite the fact that it cannot treat the failed organs, it is considered a popular and very successful life support.

9) The compact disk (CD) was invented by the Dutch giant Philips and first presented to the public in 1979 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Philips is also credited for the invention of audio and video tapes.

10) In the 1950s, rally driver Maurice Gatsonides needed to track his speed on the race track during practice and this is why the company founded by him invented an early version of what is now known as road-rule enforcement camera. These speed cameras are also sometimes called ‘Gatsos’ in honor of their inventor.  

Here are a few notable inventions: the electrocardiogram, the sawmill and the pendulum clock.

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