Linnaeus the Doctor of Medicine
Linnaeus smoked a pipe to alleviate his chronic toothache.
Drawing by Jean-Eric Rehn, 1747 or 1750. Linnaeus’ Hammarby.
Linnaeus chose to take his doctor's degree at the small university of Harderwijk in Holland. A sound choice: a week after his arrival there he was a Doctor of Medicine! Penniless students in particular chose to prepare themselves in Sweden to take their degree in Holland.
Linnaeus remained in Holland for more than three years. In 1735 he published Systema Naturae: his celebrated classification of Nature. In time, when his system came to be accepted, the study of natural history became considerably easier. Linnaeus himself coined the phrase: ”God created, Linnaeus classified.”
In Holland Linnaeus was also the first who succeeded in growing bananas in Europe: he considered this to be the fruit that Eve offered to Adam in Paradise and so he called it Musa paradisiaca!
In 1738, back in Sweden, Linnaeus opened a doctor’s practice in Stockholm. In 1739 he was one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Sciences and became its first president. This year he married Sara Lisa at her family home Sveden, outside Falun.