From dropping a possible dissertation in 1945 because it simply lacked beauty to setting his stamp of mathematical elegance on the programming language Algol68, in 1968 indeed, Aad van Wijngaarden strang a career which brought him international recognition and award. It made him founding father of 'informatica', computer science in the Netherlands. Hence a biography will excavate one important line in the history of 'informatica', a history hitherto superficially explored from various perspectives. Though engineer by training Van Wijngaarden would cultivate the mathematical side of computing, first in numerical analysis, then in programming languages and finally in design principles of languages. This paradoxical preference typically reflects the evolution of computer science in (smaller) European countries. Thus, conversely, the story of Van Wijngaarden promises insight into some characteristic traits of 'informatica' as it results from the historical process.