Christiaan Eijkman

Christiaan Eijkman (1858 - 1930)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Christiaan Eijkman aka Eykman
Born in Nijkerk, Gelderland, Netherlandsmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 20 Aug 1883 in Schoterland, Friesland, Nederlandmap
Husband of — married 21 Jul 1888 in Batavia, Java, Nederlands Indiëmap
Died in Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlandsmap
Profile last modified 6 Nov 2019 | Created 5 Nov 2018
This page has been accessed 306 times.
Nederlanders na 1811
Christiaan Eijkman is geboren in Gelderland na 1811
Join: Dutch Roots Project
Discuss: dutch_roots



Christiaan Eijkman was born on 11 August 1858 in Nijkerk province Gelderland as son of Christiaan Eijkman and Johanna Alida Pool.
Christiaan 25 years old, married on 30 August 1883 in the municipality of Schoterland, Friesland to Aaltje Wigeri van Edema, 24 years old, born in Wolvega, Weststellingwerf daughter of Johannes Wigeri van Edema and Jetske (Ietske) Plantenga.
No children were born from this marriage.
After the death of Aaltje Wigeri van Edema on (8 January 1886) Christiaan married on 21 July 1888 with Bertha Julie Louise van der Kemp. One son was born out of this marriage.
  1. Pieter Hendrik Eijkman he was born 12 February 1890 in Batavia Indonesie.
Christiaan Eijkman died in Utrecht on November 5, 1930, after a long illness. 72 years old.
He is medical doctor, health officer 1st class, director laboratory for pathological anatomy and bacteriology (later Eijkman institute) in Batavia, professor of hygiene, medical police and judicial medicine in Utrecht, winner of Nobel Prize Physiology and medicine 1929.

Dutch East Indies & Beriberi Epidemic

In the 1870s, an epidemic struck Indonesia. Indonesia was a Dutch colony at the time, and the beriberi epidemic worried colonial officials so much that the Dutch Army set up a research institute in Batavia, on the island of Java, to find out what was causing the epidemic and how to fight it. And in 1886, they sent a young Dutch Army surgeon named Christiaan Eijkman, who had joined the Army on the promise that they would pay his way to medical school in return for a few years' service as an Army doctor in the East Indies (the Dutch colonies which included Java).
Debilitating malaria symptoms had forced his return to Europe after the first two years. When he returned to Java in 1886, Eijkman was fresh from two years of study under bacteriologist Robert Koch, who had discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Eijkman had been fascinated by the idea of finding the microbes that caused human illness, and it was that prospect that drew him back to Java, despite his lingering malaria and the painfully recent loss of his wife earlier that year. (Batavia turned out to be a positive move for Eijkman, who remarried in 1888 to Bertha Julie Louise van der Kemp, around the same time he became director of the research institute there.)
His predecessors at the research institute had found microbes in the bodies of dead beriberi victims, which they and Eijkman thought might be the culprit behind the epidemic. He initially started by injected test animals with microbes from beriberi victims, but a chance discovery of the effect of variable rice feed for the test chickens led to a non-microbial cause hypothesis. Although initially he continued to pursue a pathogenic cause, thinking differences in rice types and preparations impeded the development of the suspected microbes.
By 1895, with the epidemic still raging, he realized it was time to see how all this played out in human patients, so he did another round of experiments, this time of the "wildly unethical by modern standards" variety. Specifically, he tested the effects of diet on inmates in Java's prisons. As expected, prisoners who ate mostly polished white rice were more likely to develop beriberi. It was Eijkman's successor, Gerrit Grins, who realized the problem wasn't anything in the rice grains -- it was simply that the body needed something that was in the husks, and without it, things started breaking down. That was a pretty novel idea in European circles at the time; people knew that it was important to get more or less the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and salts, but no one had realized yet that other chemicals (which we now call vitamins) also played an important role in keeping the body healthy and functional.
On the other hand, around the time Eijkman was on his way back to Java in 1886, a Japanese naval doctor named Takaki Kanehiro realized that sailors who got barley, vegetables, fish, and meat were less likely to suffer from beriberi -- or kakke, as it was known in Japan -- than those who ate mostly rice. He proved his point, and the Japanese Navy issued regulations for proper diets at sea -- and the Emperor of Japan made Takaki a baron. Takaki didn't share Eijkman's 1929 Nobel Prize in Medicine, however, and neither did Grinjs nor the team that finally isolated the compound itself, now called thiamine or Vitamin B1, in 1926.
Eijkman's son Peter Hendrik was born during his time in Java studying the causes of Beriberi; Peter also grew up to be a doctor.
Condensed from: [1]


Geboorte Christiaan Eijkman, 11-08-1858
Aktenummer: 156, Aktedatum: 12-08-1858, Akteplaats: Nijkerk
Geboortedatum: 11-08-1858, Geboorteplaats: Nijkerk
Kind: Christiaan Eijkman
Moeder: Johanna Alida Pool
Vader: Christiaan Eijkman [2][3]

Marriage (1)

Huwelijksregister 1883, Bron: BS Huwelijk
Soort registratie: BS Huwelijk akte, (Akte)datum: 30-08-1883
Vader van de bruidegom: Christiaan Eykman, Moeder van de bruidegom: Johanna Alida Pool
Bruidegom: Christiaan Eykman 25 jaar oud, geboren te Nijkerk
Bruid: Aaltje Wigeri van Edema 24 jaar oud, geboren te Wolvega
Vader van de bruid: Johannes Wigeri van Edema: Moeder van de bruid: Jetske Plantenga [4]

Marriage (2)

Bruidegom: Christiaan Eijkman
Bruid: Bertha Julie Louise van der Kemp
Plaats: Batavia Datum: 21-07-1888
Opmerking(en): Docter
Bijregister: RA jaar/bladzij: 1889/248 [5]


Overledene: Christiaan Eijkman
Overlijdensdatum: 05-11-1930, Overlijdensplaats: Utrecht, Aktedatum: 06-11-1930, Akteplaats: Utrecht
Partner: Bertha Julie Louise van der Kemp
Vader: Christiaan Eijkman, Moeder: Johanna Alida Pool
Opmerkingen: Eerder weduwnaar van Aaltje Wigeri van Edema [6]

See also Biograpy Christiaan Eijkman [7][8][9][10]


  1. Source: Forbes, Kiona N. Smith, 11 Aug 2018 - Meet The Dutch Army Doctor Who Discovered Vitamin B And Cured A Deadly Disease
  2. Source: Gelders Archief Birth Christiaan Eijkman Aktesoort: Normaal Toegangsnummer: 0207 Burgerlijke stand Gelderland, dubbelen Inventarisnummer: 3573
  3. FamilySearch "Netherlands, Gelderland Province Civil Registration, 1800-1952," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 30 June 2014), Nijkerk > Geboorten 1858-1861 > image 43 of 258; Rijksarchief de Gelderland, Arnhem (Gelders Archive, Arnhem). Image of Birthcertificate
  4. Source: Alle Friezen Marriage Christiaan Eijkman and Aaltje Wigeri van Edema Source citation Huwelijksregister 1883, archiefnummer 30-31, Burgerlijke Stand Schoterland - Tresoar, inventarisnummer 2032, aktenummer 060 Gemeente: Schoterland Periode: 1883
  5. Source: Roosje Roos Genealogisch Onderzoekbureau Infomation marriage Christiaan Eijkman and Bertha Julie Louise van der Kemp
  6. Source: Het Utrechts Archief Death Christiaan Eijkman Source citation: Toegangsnummer: 463 Burgerlijke Stand van de gemeenten in de provincie Utrecht 1903-1942 Inventarisnummer: 553-02 Aktenummer: 1508
  7. Source: Wikipedia Biography Christiaan Eijkman
  8. Huygens ING - Amsterdam. Bronvermelding: A.M. Luyendijk-Elshout, 'Eijkman, Christiaan (1858-1930)', in Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland. URL: [12-11-2013]
  9. Source Contributor: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Article Title: Christiaan Eijkman Website Name: Encyclopædia Britannica Publisher: Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Date Published: November 01, 2018 [ Access Date: November 05, 2018
  10. Source: Nobel Prize Christiaan Eijkman Biographical


Entered by Enoch Stuivenberg on 5 Nov 2018.
With special thanks to Santino Rocca for bringing this person to Wikitree and as a co-editor.

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Is Christiaan your ancestor? Please don't go away!
 star icon Login to collaborate or comment, or
 star icon contact private message the profile manager, or
 star icon ask our community of genealogists a question.
Sponsored Search by

No known carriers of Christiaan's DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.


Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.

Christiaan is 26 degrees from Donald Howard, 26 degrees from Julia Howe and 26 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.