Dutch researcher and entrepreneur, Willem van Eelen, has died in Amsterdam on the 24th of February 2015. Van Eelen was born in 1923, the son of a doctor, and a child of colonial privilege. After suffering starvation in a Japanese P.O.W. camp during the second World War, Van Eelen imagined growing meat in the laboratory, late 1940. The idea came to him while attending a scientific lecture on how to preserve meat as a psychology student at the University of Amsterdam.
For more than half a century, Van Eelen relentlessly researched and promoted In Vitro Meat, also known as victimless meat, cultured meat, tubesteak, frankenmeat, shmeat, and test-tube meat. Admitted, he was not the first to envision the idea of growing meat – or muscle tissue – outside of the animal, yet his lasting effort to turn the vision into a reality earned him the title The Godfather of In Vitro Meat.