Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) stemmed from a Würzburg family of scholars. He studied medicine and natural science in his home town. In 1822 he went to Batavia as a Dutch medical officer and in 1823 to Japan on a legation.
Due to his extraordinary natural history and ethnographic studies, Siebold was selected to join the German academy of natural scientists "Leopoldina". After he had been expelled from Japan under suspicion of espionage, Philipp Franz von Siebold returned to Holland and set up the first botanical garden and the first ethnographic museum in Leiden. In 1842 he was knighted.
In 1859 Siebold traveled to Japan again and in 1861 entered into the services of the Shogun, with whose help he promoted the introduction of European science in Japan.
In 1862 he returned to Europe, where Philipp Franz von Siebold spent the last years of his life mainly in Würzburg.