The Amsterdam surgeon and rector of the University, Dr. Jacob Rotgans, describes in his annual lecture on 8 January 1907 the need for a specialized institute for research and treatment of cancer in The Netherlands [2,3]. There are still many uncertainties about the causes of the disease, he recognizes however the connection with long exposure to alcohol and tobacco.
He urges an institute such as the cancer institute "Samariterhaus" in Heidelberg (D), which had been opened in 1906 by the well-known surgeon Professor Vinzenz Czerny. The Samariterhouse combines a clinic and a laboratory exclusively for research and treatment of cancer.
Rotgans visits the Heidelberg institute in 1906 and was very much impressed. The particular importance of the new institute lies, according to Rotgans, in the development of treatment with X-rays and radium irradiation complementary to surgery. With regard to surgery, the work at the Samariterhaus does not differ from that in large Dutch hospitals. The results in Heidelberg raise expectations and many patients, also from The Netherlands, seek cure in the new institute.
Rotgans closes his lecture with the words "Then the proverb can become reality, which I read on the frontispiece of the Institute for Cancer Research in Heidelberg: "In scientia salus" - Healing by science.
Samariterhaus in Heidelberg.