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In 1909, Henri Van Heurck (°1838), the most famous Belgian diatomist died in Antwerp. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death, the National Botanic Garden of Belgium will organise from the 23 till 26th of August 2009 an international symposium on diatom taxonomy.  

Van Heurck was manager of the family business (a paint and varnish factory) and professor in chemistry at the Industrial High School in Antwerp. As a self-made botanist, he carried out pioneering work in microscopy, and later became famous for his research on diatoms. He convinced the municipality of Antwerp to establish a Botanic Garden in Antwerp and became its director. He spent a fortune enlarging his his own herbarium including dried plant specimens, mushrooms and most important a large set of diatom slides, making this herbarium at that time one of the largest in the world. After Van Heurck’s death, his collections and herbarium were purchased by the municipality of Antwerp forming the core of the former herbarium AWH. Recently, the entire herbarium was set on permanent loan to the herbarium of the National Botanical Garden of Belgium (BR) where it will be made available to the large scientific public. Among his publications are several books such as Le Microscope (1865) and the Synopsis des diatomées de Belgique (1880).

We hope to welcome you all in the summer of 2009 and we will do our utmost to make your stay in the National Botanic Garden of Belgium a very agreeable one. Our purpose is to create a forum where both scientists from different disciplines in diatom taxonomy can meet and exchange knowledge.

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