Skip to main content

The French lion tamer and the founding of Rotterdam Zoo

On 8 April 1882 died Henri Martin in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In his youth he was a famous equestrian vaulter. He was trained with the Circus Guillaume in Livorno and worked from 1817 on for the Cirque Blondin. In 1819, he joined the ‘Menagerie’ of the Dutch Van Aken family, where he became a lion tamer. He had his debut in Nuremberg, where he performed with a tiger named ‘Atyr’. He married a Van Aken-daughter and settled in Rotterdam after his retirement in 1837. There, he was involved in founding the Rotterdam Zoo and became its first director. The Zoo still exists and is one of the largest in the Netherlands nowadays.

8 April in history

At The Online Portrait Gallery, we want to give history a face. Are you curious to find out more about this day in history? Please find some highlights below.