Aal de Dragonder

Aal de Dragonder (died before 1710) was the name given to a female soldier killed in Rotterdam who's skeleton was displayed in the Rotterdam anatomical theatre.[1]


Sometime before 1710 and probably in Rotterdam, she was involved in a fight between soldiers and lost her life. Only after her death it was discovered she was a female. Her body was not buried, but was donated to the Rotterdam medical school founded in 1642. Her body was probably used for anatomical lessons, but eventually her skeleton and her prepared skin were put on display in the anatomical theatre, her skeleton holding a sword while seated upon a horse skeleton.[2] In November 1710, a German visitor to the anatomical theater, Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach, was told that the mounted person was a woman who had served for a long time as a dragoon ("dragonder" in Dutch) and had been stabbed by her fellow soldiers. Uffenbach wrote that she wore a hat bearing the name "Aal de Dragonder".[1] Her mounted skeleton remained on display for well over a century, as in 1817 a visiting physician reported that she at that time was wearing armor. The collection was probably broken up in 1828.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Anna de Haas, Aal de Dragonder, in: Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland, 13 January 2014 (in Dutch)
  2. ^ R.M. Dekker and L.C. van de Pol, The Tradition Of Female Transvestism In Early Modern Europe (Basingstoke, 1989), p. 73.

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