Saturday, August 25, 2007

Samuel Sarphati
Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866) was a Dutch physician and Amsterdam city planner.
Sarphati's ancestors were Sephardim, Portuguese Jews who arrived in the Netherlands in the 17th century. While only middle-class, his parents were able to let him conduct a Latin school. At the age of 20, Sarphati started studying medicine in Leiden, which he finished with a promotion in 1839.
During his work thereafter as a doctor in Amsterdam, Sarphati encountered the bad hygiene among the poor in Amsterdam. His compassion for his patients, many of whom were poor, led him to initiate all sorts of projects to improve the quality of life in the city and the health of its inhabitants. They included a bread factory producing wholesome, affordable bread, and a refuse collection service. Sarphati played an important role in the initiation of waste transport in 1847. He became involved in politics, particularly as a project developer in city planning. Beside public health he also initiated improvements in education and industrialization. He also wanted to enhance Amsterdam's dignity and standing by constructing impressive buildings like the Amstel Hotel and the Paleis voor Volksvlijt.
After his death, Sarphatipark in Amsterdam was designed and named after him in 1885.

Buildings built on Sarphati's initiative

The first trade school
A bread factory (Maatschappij voor Meel-en-Broodfabrieken)
Palace of National Industry (Paleis voor volksvlijt), destroyed by fire in 1929
InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam (Amstel Hotel)

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