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.