National Botanic Garden of Belgium (BR)

A Biography of Elly Nannenga-Bremekamp

Elly Nannenga-BremekampElly Nannenga-Bremekamp was born in 1916 in Soerayaba, Indonesia. Both of her parents were biologists. After the untimely death of Elly's mother, she and her father, C.E.B. Bremekamp returned to the Netherlands where she went to primary school in Delft and Amsterdam.

When her father became professor at the University of Transvaal, South Africa, in 1924, they moved to Pretoria. Later Elly went to secondary school in England and then came back to the Netherlands where she began studying biology at the University of Utrecht.

During and after her studies she performed taxonomical research on different groups of higher plants. At that time Elly met her future husband, E.T. Nannenga, who was also a very promising biologist. After their marriage they settled in Heelsum, in the province of Gelderland.

Throughout the years Elly examined many different kind of organisms, such as shells, mosses, butterflies, mushrooms. Painting was another of her talents.

During World War II their house was destroyed by a bomb. Almost everything from her collection of precious works was destroyed. Only a few books could be saved, among them was Lister's Monography of Mycetozoa. According to Elly, this last book was one of the main reasons she began to study Myxomycetes.

Though Mr and Ms Nannenga-Bremekamp had 4 daughters, Elly found the time to become one of the greatest Myxomycetes specialist of the world. Since the early sixties she published articles on a regular bases and thus became widely known.

At the age of 79, on the second of May, 1996, Elly passed away. Her herbarium was transferred by legacy to the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. The herbarium contains 17,399 descriptions of specimens from all over the world, about 6,500 drawings and 11,575 microscopic slides. Because of its great scientific value, the National Botanic Garden of Belgium took on the task to continue and complete Ms Nannenga's life's work.