Dr Arnoldus van Rhijn 1844-1923(Xd., N.P.1994, blz. 314)

Arnoldus van Rhijn was bom on 8 March 1844 in Katwijk aan Zee, a small village at the west coast of the Netherlands, near the Hague. He was a son of Dr. Hendrik Bernardus van Rhijn, general practitioner in Katwijk, and Sophia Gijsberta de Graaf. On 20 September 1861 he started to study medicine at the University of Leiden[1]. After he graduated in 1867, he worked as assistent-practitioner in the "Buiten Gasthuis" hospital in Amsterdam, where he prepared his dissertation. He became "doctor medicinae" cum laude at the University of Leiden on 7 February 1868 on the thesis entitled "Aphasia". He then obtained his degree of "doctor artis obstetriciae" on 4 July 1868 and completed his study with a degree of "doctor chirurgiae" cum laude on 5 March 1869, all at the same University. Apart from his dissertation on Aphasia, it seems that he did not publish any other papers on medical issues. As a young physician, he obtained a Royal Award on 23 November 1867 for his performance during an epidemy of cholera in 1866. After his study, Arnoldus started his profession as general practitioner in 1869 in Oostzaan, just north of Amsterdam, where he met his wife Jannetje Kruijt. They were married in Katwijk on 8 February 1872. That same year they moved to Leiden, where they had bought "Ter Lugt" House, an ancient mansion in the center of the city. Arnoldus continued practicing medicine until after his 50th anniversary as physician on 7 of February 1918. He was made Honorary Member of the Royal Dutch Medical Association. His wife died on 13 January 1880 during an epidemy of scarlet fever, shortly after she gave birth to her youngest child. A few months later two of their six children died of the same disease. On 10 November 1897 Arnoldus remarried to Christina Hendrika Josina Fokker. Besides being a general practitioner, he was also a city councillor of Leiden for a few years. In the world of chess he was a well-known person too, not only as president of the Royal Dutch Chess Federation (1896-1905 and 1906-1908), but also as a national and international chess- player. He died on 15 February 1923, af ter a short illness.

 

N.B. De biografie van Dr. Arnoldus van Rhijn, de overgrootvader van ondergetekende, is in het Engels gesteld, omdat het heeft gediend als hoofdstuk in een Engelstalig artikel van een wetenschapper (Dr. Eling) van de Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen over de "vergeten" dissertatie van Arnoldus over Aphasie (een taalstoornis ten gevolge van een hersenletsel). Op basis van deze publicatie heeft ook een voordracht plaats gehad tijdens een internationaal congres over de geschiedenis van de neurologie in het Amerikaanse Buffalo op 8 en 9 mei 1996. Dat het hier gaat om een opzienbare dissertatie blijkt uit de volgende toelichting van Dr. Eling: Arnoldus van Rhijn finished his medical studies at the University of Leiden in 1868 with a dissertation on "Aphasia". Apparently nobody was impressed by this booklet and it was quickly forgotten. Van Rhijn's thesis was the first Dutch study on the nature of aphasia. In it, he developed a view on the psychological foundation of language in the brain. Six years before Wernicke (de internationale wetenschapper die verantwoordelijk was voor de doorbraak in de manier waarop wij denken over het functioneren van de hersens, avr), Van Rhijn hypothesized that aphasia may occur not only after lesions to language-related centers, but also as a consequence of a disconnection of centers. The thesis also contains an early description of the phenomenon of "conduite d'approche" or "verbal approximation".

 

A.C.F. van Rhijn Wassenaar, februari 1998

 

 

Op de achtergrond Huis ter Lucht te Leiden, ooit woonhuis van Arnoldus van Rhijn



[1] Physician was a popular profession in the Van Rhijn family. Arnoldus' grandfather, Arnoldus van Rhijn (1786-1868), was a physician, as well as his father Hendrik Bernardus (1816-1901) and two brothers of his father, Huibert Willem (1813-1895) and Willem Pieter van Rhijn (1819-1900). His father wrote a thesis on 'Brevis Conspectus Morborum' in 1860, while his uncle Huibert Willem wrote a thesis on 'Fungo Medullari in Genere' in 1838. His other uncle Willem Pieter wrote a thesis on 'Sialolithiasi' in 1865. Amoldus' younger brother Hermanus Johannes (1852-1926) also studied medicine and wrote a thesis on scoliosis ('Over ruggegraatsverkrommingen', 1880). Adriaan Johan van Rhijn (1847-1927), a nephew of Arnoldus, wrote a thesis on conjunctivitis and trachoma ('Conjunctivitis and Trachoma', 1873) and bis son Huibert Willem (1875-1956) became also a physician. They all studied at the University of Leiden, except fOT the last mentioned Huibert Willem who graduated from the University of Utrecht and earned his doctor's degree in Gent (Belgium).