Did you know

11 Jul 2023

Did you know? Fredrik Carl von Heidenstam

Fredrik Carl von Heidenstam was born on 17 June 1842 at the Swedish Legation in Athens. He was trained as a doctor in England and France. Thanks to his medical qualifications, he was employed by the Turkish authorities in various posts and in 1863 he was appointed Swedish/Norwegian vice consul in Piraeus.

In 1876 he married Anastasia Soundia from the island of Corfu. Fredrik probably met her while he was working as a medical officer in Preveza, a small city in north-western Greece on the coast opposite Corfu. His next post was in Cyprus where he was appointed medical officer in 1876 by the Turkish administration. In Cyprus Fredrik and Anastasia Heidenstam had four children. A long career was about to begin whereby Heidenstam was soon promoted by the British, who ruled Cyprus from 1878 to Medical Officer of the port of Larnaca and then Medical Officer of the whole district; he was also appointed Mayor of Larnaca (1878-1880) and at the same time served as Police Magistrate.

In 1882 he was appointed Chief Medical Officer of Cyprus, a post which he held till his death in 1909. His new post in 1883 as a member of the Legislative Council of Cyprus brought him to the capital, Nicosia. The British Colonial administration rewarded him for his services by making him a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He wrote extensive reports stemming from his experiences in Cyprus on various medical subjects, including: Report on the Epidemic of Cerebro-spinal meningitis in Cyprus (1880), Report on the Fevers of Cyprus (1886), Report on Leprosy in Cyprus, (1890) and A Primer of Hygiene or the laws of Health (1908). Being a prominent member of the society in Cyprus, and known both to the locals and the foreigners living there, the local press often obliged with much information on his life and social activities.

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and Active Citizens Fund.

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