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Heinrich Burger in Edo. Drawing in ink by Kazan Watanabe, c. 1826

Heinrich Bürger (or: Heinrich Burger) (Hamelin, 29 February 1804, or 7 November 1804, or 20 January 1806, - Indramayu (Java) 25 March 1858) was a by birth German physicist, biologist and botanist employed by the Dutch government, and an entrepreneur. He was an important person for the study of Japanese fauna and flora.



Bürger's exact birth date is unknown. Bürger himself gave 29 February 1804. Most archival sources have the year 1806; it looks as if Heinrich moved his birth date two years forward in order to appear older. Bürger was Jewish; his father was a merchant and “Schutzjude” in Hamlin, went bankrupt in 1817 , and died in 1821.


In the years 1821-1822 Heinrich studied mathematics and astronomy at Göttingen university. Though he sometimes used the titel of doctor, no proof has been found of an academic promotion. In 1824 Bürger leaves for Batavia (Dutch East Indies), now Jakarta, where he visits the school for apothecaries. On 14 January 1825 he gains the degree of apothecary 3rd class.


On 14 juni 1825 Heinrich Bürger is appointed by the Dutch government as the assistant of Philipp Franz von Siebold on the isle of Dejima (Nagasaki, Japan) for the "natural research" in Japan. He leaves for Japan on the 1st of July. On Dejima Bürger does chemistry and biological research, and he teaches the Japanese. He also is head of pharmacy and assists Siebold's polyclinical visits to patients outside Dejima. In 1828 Bürger is appointed as successor of Von Siebold as far as the chemical, natural and biological work is concerned. In the following years he collects large quantities of plants and animals, among which 650 fishes. Much of this material was used for the later publication Fauna Japonica by Temminck and Schlegel. Plants sent by Bürger arrived in the botanical gardens of university cities like Leiden, Groningen, Munich, Paris, London, Florence and St. Louis. The museum Naturalis in Leiden boasts a large Bürger-collection. Animals and plants first described by Bürger can often be recognized by the epitheton “Buergerianum”, “Burgeri”, or variations.


In 1832 or 1833 (literary sources contradict each other here) Bürger is 'added' to the "Committee for natural research in East-India". In that capacity he visits Sumatra between June and December 1833. In that period he plans a road from the Padang lowlands to the inlands; the road through the Anai Valley, which today is a tourist attraction because of its natural beauty. The realisation of this road gets him the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 1833 Bürger marries Anna Cornelia van Daalen in Padang. In 1834 and 1835 he is back on Dejima, but he installs his wife in Batavia.


From 1 July 1835 Bürger is relieved of his duties in Japan. In the next years he travels extensively with his family throughout Europe. Back on Java he is pensioned off in 1842 as a member of the Natural Committee, and on 30 June 1843 he is honorably discharged from public service. Heinrich then moves into business, a.o. the production of rice and oil on Bangka, the Nederlandsch-Indische Zee-Assurantie Maatschappij (marine insurances), de Maatschappij tot Bevordering van Mijnontginningen in Nederlandsch-Indië (Society for the advancement of mining development in the Dutch Indies), which operates on Borneo, and he is co-owner of sugar factory Rejosari in Magetan (Madiun Residency, Java). Bürger also is a prominent member of the social club "De Harmonie" in Batavia 1850-1853.


  • Hitherto unpublished archival research by P.M. Kernkamp in Wageningen, Holland
  • M.J. van Steenis - Kruseman: Heinrich Bürger (?1806 - 1858), explorer in Japan and Sumatra, in: "Blumea" jg. 11, nr. 2, 1962
  • M. Boeseman: Revision of the fishes collected by Burger and Von Siebold in Japan. in: "Zoologische Mededelingen", Vol. 28, 1947, p.1-242 PDF
  • M. Uéno: A Japanese portrait of Heinrich Bürger. in: Zoologische Mededelingen Vol. 49, 1975, p. 91-93 PDF



Olympic medal record
Figure skating
Gold 1908 London Pairs

Heinrich Burger (May 31 1881 - April 27 1942) was a German figure skater. He competed in both singles and pairs events. He was Olympic champion and two-time World champion together with Anna Hübler.

Burger and Hübler were the first world champions and the first Olympic champions in pairs figure skating. They never became European champions, because the European championships were established in 1930.

They skated for the club Müchener EV (Munich EV).

Heinrich Burger was also a lawyer.


Results as a single skater

World Championships

  • 1904 – 2nd place
  • 1906 – 2nd place
  • 1907 – 5th place
  • 1908 – 3rd place

European Championships

  • 1904 - withdrawn (5th after compulsory figures)
  • 1905 – 2nd place

German Championships

  • 1904 – 1st place
  • 1906 – 1st place
  • 1907 – 1st place

Results as a pair skater with Anna Hübler

Olympic Games

  • 1908 – 1st place

World Championships

  • 1908 – 1st place
  • 1910 – 1st place

European Championships

  • not held at this time

German Championships

  • 1907 – 1st place
  • 1908 – not held
  • 1909 – 1st place
  • 1910 – not held





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