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We know less about the life of pharmacist and hortulanus Cluyt than we do of his prefect, Clusius. Cluyt was born in Haarlem in 1546 and became a pharmacist there. In 1578 he moved to Delft where he owned a famous apothecary called ‘De Granaetappel’ (the pomegranate) as well as a large garden with trees, herbs and bees. In May 1594 the university of Leiden asked him to oversee the planting of the new Hortus. As a result, many of the plants in the garden came from his garden in Delft.

He was the first to write a book about beekeeping: ‘Van de Byen, hare wonderlicke oorsprong’ (‘About Bees, their wondrous origin’). It was written as a dialogue between Cluyt and Clusius, and shows that they were quite close. The sudden death of Cluyt in 1598 led Clusius to withdraw from the Hortus. Cluyt’s son, Augerius Clutius, was a successful botanist but the university did not appoint him as Cluyt’s successor, much to the chagrin of the students.

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