Born: 1650, Bre­men, Ger­ma­ny.

Died: May 31, 1680, Bre­men, Ger­ma­ny, of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis.



Grandson of a mu­si­cian and son of a teach­er, Jo­ach­im’s fa­mi­ly name was Neu­mann (new man), but, as was po­pu­lar at the time, his grand­fa­ther (al­so a preach­er, and al­so named Jo­ach­im), changed it to a for­eign equiv­a­lent, in this case Greek.

He stu­died theo­lo­gy at Bre­men Uni­ver­si­ty (1666–70). In 1671, he moved his stu­dies to Hei­del­berg (lo­cale of Sig­mund Rom­berg’s 1924 mu­sic­al The Stu­dent Prince).

In 1673, he moved to Frank­furt am Main, where he met Pie­tis­tic schol­ars Phil­ipp Ja­kob Spe­ner (1635–1705) and Jo­hann Schütz (1640–90).

From 1674–79, Ne­an­der was prin­ci­pal of the Re­formed La­tein­schule (gram­mar school) in Düs­sel­dorf.

In these years, he used to wan­der the se­clud­ed Düs­sel Ri­ver val­ley, which was, un­til the 19th Cen­tu­ry, a deep ra­vine be­tween rock fac­es and for­ests, with nu­mer­ous caves, grot­tos and wa­ter­falls.

He prob­ab­ly wrote and sang ma­ny of his po­ems there, but al­so held ga­ther­ings and ser­vic­es. In the early 19th Cen­tu­ry, a large cave was named Ne­an­der­höh­le af­ter him.

In the mid-19th Cen­tu­ry, the ce­ment in­dus­try start­ed to quar­ry the lime­stone, and the nar­row ra­vine be­came a wide val­ley, which was now named the Ne­and­er Val­ley (in Ger­man, Ne­an­der­thal). In the sum­mer of 1856, the Ne­an­der­thal Man fos­sils were found there, giv­ing Jo­ach­im the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the on­ly writ­er with a ho­mi­nid named af­ter him!

In 1679, Ne­an­der moved to Bre­men and worked as as­sist­ant preach­er at St. Mar­ti­ni church. The next year he be­came ser­ious­ly ill and died.