BornBruges, Belgium, 1548
DiedThe Hague, the Netherlands, March–April 1620
Textbook author Simon Stevin was born in Bruges (in what is now Belgium) in 1548, the illegitimate child of Anthuenis Stevin and Catelyne van der Poort. Very little is known of Stevin’s youth and education. His first job was in Antwerp as a bookkeeper and cashier in one of the city’s trading houses, where he became acquainted with business practice and methods. In 1577, Stevin accepted a post with the financial administration of the Brugse Vrije, the region around the city of Brugge. A few years later we find him registered in Leiden, in the present-day Netherlands. Exactly why he immigrated to the North is not known; perhaps he disliked the Spanish oppression of the southern part of the Low Countries, or he may have had Protestant sympathies. In 1583, Stevin’s name appears on the roll of the newly founded University of Leiden, where the young Prince Maurits of Orange was attending courses. From 1590 onward,...