Early education

Interior, Our Lady’s Cathedral, Copenhagen

Niels Steensen’s formal education began at the Latin school of the Church of  Our Lady. We do not know exactly how old he was at the time, perhaps ten. In 1817 the Latin school changed its name to Metropolitanskolen. In 2010 it merged with two other schools and no longer exists as an independent institution. The church building which Steensen knew as a boy burned down during the Napoleonic wars, but there is still a Church of Our Lady on the same spot.

Niels Steensen was fortunate to have well-qualified and inspiring teachers at the cathedral school. When he wrote his famous paper on the glands of the eye he dedicated it to two of them: The headmaster, Jørgen Eilersen, and the natural historian, Ole BorchAnother important influence on Steensen was the doctor Simon Paulli.