Scope and Contents
This archive consists of several manuscripts and pictures concerning lectures, presentations, essays and expeditions. Additionally, there are drawings, glass slides and notes concerning astronomical observations.
- 1879-ca. 1948
- Pannekoek, Anton, 1873-1960 (Person)
Language of Materials
Dutch, English and German
Conditions Governing Access
The archive is public to a limited extent. Rolled maps (inv. nr. 11) are fragile and can only be consulted after permission is given by the curator or collection specialist.
Conditions Governing Use
When consulting the material the Regulations for users of the Library of the University of Amsterdam applies. Reproductions and fees for reproduction rights in accordance with the Pricelist for services rendered by the Library of the University of Amsterdam.
If - in exceptional cases - permission is given to consult the rolled maps (inv.nr. 11), they are only available for perusal.
Biographical / Historical
Antonie (Anton) Pannekoek was an astronomer and political activist (1873-1960) and was known for his astronomical studies and his Marxist theories. He started his studies in mathematics and physics at the University of Leiden in 1891. In the years before, he had already started to immerse himself into the subject of natural history and astronomy. After working as an engineer at the Rijkscommissie voor Graadmeting and Waterpassing, he became third observer at the astronomical observatory in Leiden in 1899. It was here Pannekoek obtained his PhD (1902). Additionally, his time at the observatory was where he turned away from liberalism towards socialism. In Leiden he became one of the central figures of the social-democratic worker’s party (SDAP). In 1906 Pannekoek and his family moved to Berlin, where he became a teacher in Marxist theory at the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland (SPD). During his time in Germany, he wrote for several social-democratic newspapers and journals. Due to WWI, Pannekoek and his family returned to The Netherlands in 1914. Here he went on to teach physics and cosmography at several secondary schools. After the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Pannekoek initially supported the Soviet Union but later came in conflict with Lenin over theoretical issues. Lenin denounced Pannekoek for being a naïve radical leftist. A year later the University of Amsterdam offered Pannekoek a lectureship in astronomy, which he accepted. Pannekoek had also been offered the assistant directorship in Leiden, but there the Dutch government intervened and prevented hiring an outspoken communist at a state university. With the help of the Amsterdam local municipal council Pannekoek managed to establish an astronomical institute, better known today as the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy. From the work of the Indian physicist Meghnad Saha, Pannekoek learned about the theory of ionization equilibrium in gases. By applying this new knowledge to the evolution of stars, Pannekoek became the founding father of astrophysics in the Netherlands. His work would be recognized around the world, for example with an honorary doctorate by Harvard University and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. This collection perfectly illustrates the balance between his scientific and political interests and ambitions.
ca. 1 meter
Abstract in English
Antonie (Anton) Pannekoek was an astronomer and political activist (1873-1960) and was known for his astronomical studies and his Marxist theories. This archive gives an overview of Pannekoeks interests and ambitions in astronomy and politics. The objects span a wide range in time and offers those interested an insight in Pannekoek’s two main interests and how he viewed these subjects. In this archive you will find many different manuscripts such as diaries, notebooks and maps.
Abstract in Dutch
Antonie Pannekoek was astronoom en politiek activist (1873-1960) en stond bekend om zijn astronomische bevindingen en om zijn Marxistische theorieën. Dit archief geeft een overzicht van zijn interesses en ambities met betrekking tot astronomie en politiek. De objecten hebben betrekking op een brede tijdsspanne en geven geïnteresseerden een inzicht in de twee grote interesses van Pannekoek en hoe hij naar deze onderwerpen keek. In dit archief zijn verschillende manuscripten te vinden, waaronder dagboeken, notitieboeken en kaarten.
Allard Pierson, University of Amsterdam
After being created by Anton Pannekoek, this material resided in the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy until 2022.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
In 2022 this archival material was donated to the Allard Pierson by the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy.
This archive gives an overview of Pannekoeks interests and ambitions in astronomy and politics. The objects span a wide range in time and offers those interested an insight in Pannekoek’s two main interests and how he viewed these subjects.
Additions to the collection are expected.
- K. van Berkel, 'Pannekoek, Antonie (1873-1960)', in: Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland [12-11-2013], geraadpleegd op 02-02-23.
- Chaokang Tai, Bart van der Steen and Jeroen van Dongen, Anton Pannekoek. Ways of Viewing Science and Society. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019.
- Chaokang Tai. “Left Radicalism and the Milky Way: Connecting the Scientific and Socialist Virtues of Anton Pannekoek”, in: Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Vol. 47, No. 2 (April 2017), pp. 200-254.
- Johanna M. Welcker, 'Pannekoek, Antonie' Biografisch Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging in Nederland, Oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd in: BWSA 1 (1986), p. 90-93. Laatst gewijzigd: 10-02-2003, geraadpleegd op geraadpleegd op 02-02-23.
In 2023 the archive has been repackaged in acid-free boxes and folders and an inventory has been made.
- Inventory of the archive of Anton Pannekoek, 1879-ca. 1948
- Jessie Pietens
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note