Mathematical manoeuvres. The changing role of the Dutch Military Academy in Mathematics, 1828-1870

Danny Beckers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The role of mathematics in the education of Dutch army officers changed dramatically in the early 19th century. This shift became visible with the founding of the Dutch Royal Military Academy in 1828, which shows the role of mathematics in military education shifting toward a purely pedagogical function. This change in approach, which primarily occurred in 1860’s, affected the standing and perception of an academy once highly respected in the field of mathematics. In the present work, I examine both the curricula at the Academy and the crucial role of the Academy’s mathematics instructors in the Dutch Mathematical Society and the Royal Academy of Sciences. Importantly, these two institutions managed to successfully adapt to the changing character of mathematical sciences that occurred around 185 Mathematicians at the Royal Military Academy, however, appeared to cling to an outdated view of mathematics. Failing to update their approach ultimately caused the Academy to lose its once prominent place in the Dutch mathematical community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-177
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophia Scientiae
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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