Literatuur en Geneeskunde

Ziekte door andere ogen/Disease through other eyes

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Another way of looking at illnesses

By investigating the meaning of medicine in society, the foundation for Literature and Medicine looks at the way in which illnesses, medicine, patients and medics are portrayed in novels, poetry, autobiographical stories and movies. Writers are good at observing medical practice and the culture in which that practice takes place. The description of that is therefore valuable for doctors as well as for patients: they often provide additional and surprising insights. This website is divided into an ‘Activities’ chapter (in which all projects are listed that have been finalized and that are currently ongoing) and a ‘Databases’ chapter (in which all databases are listed which have been or are being developed in the fields of literature, movies and documentaries, poetry, biographies of illnesses and art in a medical context).


The activities in the field of Literature and Medicine consists of courses for honors students of the Free University and the University of Amsterdam; courses for the higher education for elderly program of the Free University; courses on location in 10 different European cities and continuing education for doctors. And we have databases.


At the moment, only the

  • Novels and stories
  • Films, tv series and documentaries
  • Images of Medicine
  • (Books and articles) About literature and medicine

databases are available in English.

The database novels and stories is searchable by keywords and by author. At the moment 173 novels, stories and autobiographies from 128 different authors have been made available. 826 Keywords give also access to citations from the novels in the database. At the moment, 1156 citations are available. Last update: May 30, 2024.

The database Films, tv series and documentaries started in April 2020. 591 films and documentaries have been added. You can search by keyword and title. Last update: May 30, 2024.

The database Images of Medicine is a modest digital art gallery with visual art about illness and health. At the moment 242 images are available. You can find 57 more images in the Dutch side. We are working to make the English site complete. Last update March 30, 2024.

The database About Literature and Medicine is meant for researchers. There are many books with essays about literature and medicine, or about a certain general topic in the field of literature and medicine. These books are gathered in this database, with a short description and a pdf of the contents table. Furthermore, many articles about literature and medicine are gathered in this database. At the moment 10 books and 990 articles are available. Last update: April 20, 2022.

In the future, more databases will be made available:

  • Poetry and Medicine
  • Pathographies

In the Poetry and Medicine database, poems about disease will be gathered, as far as copyright rules make that possible. We are looking for an enthusiastic person to help us with this database.

Dutch and English

The English website is based on the Dutch website, but in the English version, the information which is only interesting for a Dutch public is left out. The Dutch site is being translated bit by bit, so the information in the English site is also less at the moment. Over 400 books entries still have to be translated. The translations are partly done by translators, and partly by using Google translate and DeepL. When using the databases you may switch from English to Dutch when you click on the Dutch flag in the right hand top. You can return to English by clicking on the British flag.

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