Portrait from volume two of his four-volume Werken, published in 1689. Leeuwenhoek was the son of a middle-class shopkeeper in Delft, Netherlands. He began his professional life as a cloth merchant and then served in several civil service posts in Delft. As the Court Surveyor of Holland, he acquired an interest in lens grinding and fashioned his first microscope in 1671. He communicated his observations to other scientific practitioners in letters written in Dutch that were later collected together and published in four volumes
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