French emperor (1769-1821)
As the Emperor of the French (from 1804 to 1815), Napoleon sought to achieve
European unity. In 1795, his invading army established the Batavian Republic
in the Netherlands, which
thus became one of France's
many satellites. French rule there came to an end in 1813.
In October 1811 Napoleon paid a short visit to Haarlem, whose notables he granted audience in the Grote Herenkamer, or Great Hall, of Teylers' Fundatiehuis. On the same occasion, he was given a guided tour of the Museum. While he may not have been unduly impressed by the scientific performance of the Genootschappen, he attached great importance to the Museum's educational potential. As he left he is supposed to have encouraged van Marum, the Museum's first director, to ‘continue down this path... but try especially to be useful', a statement supported by Van Marum in his striving for practically oriented research. The Emperor showed himself less amiable towards the Directors. He asked to have a look at the financial position of the Foundation, grabbing the presiding Director by the ear when he received an evasive answer.