Elisabeth Vreede

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Elisabeth Vreede

Elisabeth Vreede (* 16 July 1879 in The Hague; † 31 August 1943 in Ascona) was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and anthroposophist. She was a member of the executive committee of the General Anthroposophical Society from 1925 to 1935.


Elisabeth Vreede came into contact with theosophy at home. She became interested in the starry sky at an early age, read the works of Camille Flammarion and learned French. She studied mathematics, astronomy and philosophy (especially Hegel) and Sanskrit at the University of Leyden. She was also actively involved in student life, founding a boatclub, and was a council member of the students' union. After graduating in 1906, she taught mathematics at a high school for girls until 1910.

Her first meeting with Rudolf Steiner took place at the Theosophical Congress in London in 1903. Her parents were theosophists and she, too, was a member of the Theosophical Society. At the congress Rudolf Steiner straightaway made a great impression on her. A year later she heard Steiner's lecture on Mathematics and Occultism given at the Congress of the Federation of European Sections of the Theosophical Society at Amsterdam in 1904.[1] The next European Congress was in 1906 when Steiner held a cycle of 18 lectures there.

From 1910 she lived in [[w:Berlin|], worked on her (unfinished) dissertation and for a time as Rudolf Steiner's secretary. In 1914 she moved to Dornach to help build the first Goetheanum. During the war years she helped with the welfare of prisoners of war in Berlin.

After the War, Rudolf Steiner developed his idea of the threefold social order. Vreede had an intense interest in this initiative and work and she was the first to bring this idea to England. Around 1918 Vreede began to build up the library and archive at the Goetheanum from her own funds.

In 1920 Vreede moved to Arlesheim where she had built a small house of her own. It was the second dwelling-house for which Rudolf Steiner himself had given the model in 1919.[2] There, in Arlesheim, Ita Wegman founded the first anthroposophical medical clinic in 1921.

In 1924 Vreede became head of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum.

After the internal disputes in the Anthroposophical Society she was recalled from the Executive Council with Ita Wegman. A few months after her death she too died after a short illness.


  • Die Berechtigung der Mathematik in der Astronomie und ihre Grenzen. In: Anthroposophische Hochschulkurse, Bd. I/II, Stuttgart 1922
  • Anthroposophie und Astronomie, Novalis Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau 1954
  • Die Bodhisattvafrage in der Geschichte der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft. Zwei Vorträge (vom 9. und 11. Juli 1930). In: Thomas Meyer/Elisabeth Vreede, Die Bodhisattvafrage, Pegasus Verlagsbuchhandlung, Basel 1989
  • Astrologie und Anthroposophie, Verlag am Goetheanum, Dornach 1993, ISBN 3-7235-0695-X


  • Madeleine Petronella van Deventer (Hg.): Elisabeth Vreede – Ein Lebensbild, Natura Verlag, Arlesheim 1976, ISBN 3-7235-0606-2
  • Besinnung auf Elisabeth Vreede (1879–1943). Evocation de Elisabeth Vreede (1879–1943), Dornach 2003
  • Peter Selg: Zum Schicksal Elisabeth Vreedes: Plinius der Ältere - Jakob von Molay - Eine Studie, Verlag des Ita Wegman Instituts 2010, ISBN 9783905919240



  1. Rudolf Steiner: Mathematics and Occultism, lecture given in Amsterdam, June 1904 [1]
  2. Erich Zimmer: Rudolf Steiner als Architekt von Wohn- und Zweckbauten, p. 105 ff., Verlag Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 1971.
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