1.1 Childhood and Youth in Copenhagen 1638–1659
Times were stormy when Niels Stensen was born in 1638. Twenty years previously the defenestration of Prague had started the war that lasted for 30 years in the heart of Europe. That brought mercenaries of the Emperor’s Marshal Wallenstein even to the northern part of Denmark on the peninsula of Jutland in a victorious push of the Catholic League. The counterthrust of the Swedish King Gustav Adolf and the rough bravery of his army indeed drove away the imperial troops. The young Niels attended school for the first time in 1649, the year after the Peace of Westphalia. His youth and adulthood were marked by war after war, not only far away but also in the Baltic Sea at the border of his country with Sweden for the dominium Maris Baltici, for the predominance of the Baltic Sea to the South and East of Denmark.