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Dr Paul van Saanen was born in 1945 in Bucharest, to a Roumanian mother and Dutch father. He completed his studies in medicine with flying colours, specialising in internal medicine. From 1973 he lived and practiced in Switzerland. Cultured, erudite and of refined taste, he spoke several languages fluently. As much as his practice allowed, he travelled to enrich his collections. His passion for fans was passed on to him from his grandmother when he was still a child. This lead to him staging an exhibition of fans in 1994 and to the production of an illustrated catalogue. Highlights of the collection on exhibition included Chinese, Japanese, Swiss, Spanish and many other fans.