On Friday, February 20, 1980, I had the pleasure to be present at the inaugural lecture of my colleague Jan Reedijk, who had just been named at the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry of Leiden University. According to tradition, the ceremony took place in the impressive Hall of the old University Academy Building. In the course of his lecture, Jan mentioned a number of recent developments in chemistry which had struck him as particularly important or interesting. Among those was the synthesis of large metal cluster compounds, and, to my luck, he showed a slide ofthe molecular structure of [PtI9(C)b]4-. (To my luck, since at traditional Leiden University it is quite unusual to show slides at such ceremonies.) This constituted my first acquaintance with this exciting new class of materials. I became immediately fascinated by this molecule, partly because of the esthetic beauty of its fivefold symmetry, partly because as a physicist it struck me that it could be visualized as an "embryonically small" metal particle, embedded in a shell of CO ligands.