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Otto Lanz

Born  1865
Died  1935

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Swiss surgeon, born October 14, 1865, Steffisburg; died March 23, 1935, The Netherlands.

Biography of Otto Lanz

Otto Lanz studied in Geneva, Bern, Basel, Leipzig, and Munich and obtained his doctorate in 1889. In 1888 he became an assistant to Ludwig Lichtheim (1845-1832) and from 1890 to 1892 was an assistant to Theodore Kocher. 1892-1893 he visited Berlin, Naples, and London, and in 1894 he settled as a practitioner and Dozent of surgery at the University in Bern.

In 1902 Lanz was appointed professor of surgery in Amsterdam, remaining there until his death. He was well known for his surgery of the thyroid gland and for his studies on the vermiform appendix. In 1907 he invented the meshed graft.

Apart from his professional achievements, Lanz was a great connoisseur and passionate collector of Italian Renaissance art. In 1906 objects from his collection were installed in a room in the Rijksmuseum. In the period July-October 1934 a significant part of his collection was included in the exhibition of Italian art in Dutch possession in the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam. Lanz' contribution to the exhibition was 122 paintings. After the death of Lanz in March 1935, the collection, consisting of paintings, sculpture, furniture and ceramics, approximately 430 objects, was entrusted to the Rijksmuseum by his heirs. In 1941 his widow sold the collection to Adolf Hitler who acquired it for his proposed Führermuseum. The price was 2 million Swiss francs and 350,000 Dutch guilders. After the capitulation, the collection was returned to The Netherlands.


  • Chirurgische Klinik von Prof. Dr. Kocher zu Bern.
    Sommersemester 1891 edited by Otto Lanz and Fritz de Quervain. Jena 1891.
    It is an edited version of the clinical colloquia held by Theodor Kocher during the summer semester of 1891. At that time Lanz was first assistent of the surgical clinic lead by Kocher.
  • Zu der Schilddrüsenfrage. Sammlung klinischer Vorträge. Leipzig, 1894.
  • Beiträge zur Schilddrüsenfrage.
    In Mitt. Klin. und. med. Inst. d. Schweiz. Basel and Leipzig, 1895.
  • Het streven naar volmaakte asepsis.
    Geneeskundige bladen uit kliniek en laboratorium voor de praktijk, Haarlem, 1904.
  • Die Transplantation betreffend.
    Zentralblatt für Chirurgie, Leipzig, 1908, 35 (1): 1-32.
    The still customary mesh-grafting technique.
  • T. M. van Gulik and W. H. Brummelkamp:
    Otto Lanz, surgeon and art collector.
    The Netherlands Journal of Surgery, Utrecht, April 1988, 40 (2): 31-36.
  • C. F. Traczewski, O. Lanz, G. Lenz:
    [Trials with roentgen photography. 1896] Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, Basel, April 6, 1996, 126 (14): 598-600.
  • C. F. Traczewski, O. Lanz, G. Lenz:
    [Trials with roentgen photography. 1896] Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, Basel, April 13, 1996, 126 (15): 651-654.
  • K. D. Mörike:
    [Lanz' point or von Lanz' point?]
    Anatomischer Anzeiger, Jena, 1973, 134 (3): 209-210.
  • L. Clodius:
    The classic reprint. Die Transplantation Betreffend by Prof. Otto Lanz.
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltimore, October 1972, 50 (4): 395-397.
  • H. W. van Os:
    Otto Lanz en het verzamelen van vroege Italiaanse kunst in Nederland.
    Bulletin of the Rijksmuseum, 1978, volume 26, no.4.
We thank Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland, for information submitted.

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