BORN 10 Nov 1785, Antwerpen - DIED 1 Feb 1865, Antwerpen|
GRAVE LOCATION Antwerpen: Schoonselhof, Sint-Bernardsesteenweg, Hoboken (Perk Z1, rij D)
Jacques Kets was a well known zoologist, botanist and taxidermist when he became the first director of the Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Dierkunde Antwerpen (Royal Society of Zoology Antwerp), the KMDA. He had prepared William of Orange's horse that had been killed during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and he posessed a large cabinet of objects at the Kloosterstraat in Antwerp as well as an important collection of books on natural history. His cabinet contained over 400 stuffed birds and many other objects like skeletons, strange eggs, hoods and paintings. It was visited by people from all over Europe since 1824.
Around the time that the city of Antwerp wanted to use the building that housed his cabinet for other purposes Antwerp's mayor J.F. Loos wanted to found a zoo and things were brought together. Kets accepted the position at the KMDA on the condition that a museum would be founded to house his collection. Antwerp Zoo was part of KMDA and it was opened on 21 Jun 1843, the day that KMDA was formally founded. Ket's stuffed animals were at the center of its early collection. The 'Royal' was added to the name after king Leopold I opened the building of the KMDA in 1844.
There is a street named after him in Antwerp, the Ketsstraat.