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        Professor J. M. F. Landsmeer (1919–1999)
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        Professor J. M. F. Landsmeer (1919–1999)
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        Professor J. M. F. Landsmeer (1919–1999)
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Abstract

Johan Matthijs Frederik (Hans) Landsmeer, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Embryology at the University of Leiden, died on 12 June 1999, at the age of 80. He was a gifted scientist who had devoted his professional life to research in Anatomy and Embryology. During his career he was successful in blazing new trails in the relation of morphology to function. This resulted in an impressive list of publications frequently cited in the literature. His sharp analytical approach to problems was a striking feature and illustrated his aversion to superficiality. In this way he collected a profound and inspiring knowledge of human and comparative anatomy and embryology and he knew exactly how to pass on this knowledge to others. Therefore it is not surprising that he guided a substantial number of disciples to the completion of a PhD thesis, thus forming a school. His ability to translate his concepts in a way to have them accepted in the solution of clinical problems is also generally recognised. He was a skilful dissector. The results of his work were brought together in Landsmeer's Atlas of Anatomy of the Hand, published in 1976. This volume represents his meticulous morphological analysis of structures and his ability to intermingle the gross and fine structure of the hand to its function. This has opened perspectives for the surgeon engaged in the treatment of this most difficult area.

Hans Landsmeer had a strong affiliation to the University of Leiden. Born on 14 January 1919 in Rotterdam, where he spent his youth, he started his medical studies at the Leiden University in 1935. In 1939, before graduating he entered the Department of Anatomy and Embryology, and he stayed there until his retirement. This continuity was only interrupted during World War II. In November 1940 the University of Leiden was closed by the Nazis in connection with a rectorial address on 26 November protesting against the exclusion of the Jewish professors. Without any doubt this major event made a deep impression on him. During his career he consistently refused any invitation from countries where democracy was violated.