16th century text by Vesalius returned to Belgium


A 16th century text by Brussels-born anatomist and physician Andreas Vesalius has found its way back to Belgium.

It’s not just any text, either: we’re talking about De Humani Corporis Fabrica, one of the most influential texts on human anatomy. It is made up of seven books, each describing a different bodily system, starting with the bones and cartilages, moving on to muscles and ligaments, and so on.  

KU Leuven managed to purchase a copy of the second edition (published in 1555) of the work at an auction. The university already had a copy of the first edition (from 1543), but this piece is special: it contains annotations made by the author, who, nota bene, was himself a student and lecturer at the university. 

KU Leuven is celebrating its 600th birthday in 2025. The university is planning on opening a museum dedicated to Vesalius for the occasion. 

Did you know that Andreas Vesalius’ father was apothecary to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor? If you’d like to learn more about Andreas, you can do so here.