Introduction: Govert Bidloo was a Dutch anatomist and royal physician who lived during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most remembered for his anatomy text and feud with contemporary William Cowper, Bidloo's surgical text appears to describe the first case of what is now known as a lipomyelomeningocele. Methods: The authors review the life of Bidloo and his description of this pathologic entity. Conclusions: Govert Bidloo appears to have described a lipomyelomeningocele almost 200 years before the description often mentioned as the sentinel paper on this topic. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.