Welcome to this website about Niels Steensen, one of the most fascinating Danish personalities of the 17th century.
Steensen was born in Copenhagen in 1638, and went abroad to study in the Netherlands when he was 21. There he made a reputation for himself within anatomy. His discoveries gained him the patronage of the Medici court in Florence, where he lived and worked from 1666-1674. His work in Florence laid the foundations of the science of geology.
Steensen converted to Catholicism, was ordained a priest and bishop, and worked in northern Germany until his death in Schwerin in 1686. He was known for his exemplary integrity, self-sacrifice, and service to others. In 1988 Niels Steensen was beatified by blessed John Paul II.

Early life

Niels Steensen was born in Copenhagen on January 1, 1638 (Julian calendar) to goldsmith Steen Pedersen and his wife Anne Nielsdatter. We have no reliable knowledge regarding Niels Steensen’s mother’s family, but do know something about his father’s family: They were…

Memento mori

The image of the child Niels talking with and observing the craftsmen in the hustle-bustle his father’s workshop is one of tranquility and security, but it is worth remembering that  life was hard in the 17th century. Niels Steensen lost his half-sister Lisbeth in 1644, his…