Dutch National Library


August 13, 2022

Dutch National Library (Dutch Koninklijke Bibliotheek) - national library in The Hague.


The library was established in 1798 when William V, Prince of Orange, donated a valuable collection of medieval manuscripts and old prints to the nation. During the Napoleonic period, during the reign of Louis (1806–1810), the library received the title of Royal (Koninklijk). The king enriched its collections by buying in 1807 the collection of the lawyer from Leiden Joost Romswinckel, which contained about 22-24 thousand. books and 9-10 thousand. map. The collection of Jacob Visser, purchased two years later, in 1809, was added to the collection of the 15th century books and manuscripts. King William I, after his return to the throne, cared for the library. He bought for her the collections of the late secretary of the Belgian Academy, GJ Gérard. In 1819, the king moved the library to the Huis Huguetan palace, designed by the French architect Daniel Marot in 1733. It was the seat of the library until 1982. The new building was designed by the OD205 office under the direction of architect Arie Hagoort. It has an area of ​​80 thousand. m², of which 37 thous. m² is occupied by the library, and the rest of the space are warehouses. The building also houses the Museum of Literature and the Dutch Institute of Art History. Since 1993, the library has been an independent institution financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. On the occasion of the move to the new building, she was awarded the National title.

Digital Library

Since 2011, the Early Dutch Books Online digital library has been created, which provides access to publications published in the Netherlands or related to them from the years 1700–1899. In addition to the special collections of the library, the collections of the university libraries in Amsterdam (UB UVA) and Leiden (UBL) were also placed. Readers have full access to (2019) 10,000. books. In 2013, the digitized archive of newspapers from 1890–1939 was published in the digital library under an open license. The library asked the owners of the rights to photographs and texts to come forward if they did not want to share their works. There were no protests, only one of the heirs thanked for sharing photos of his grandfather. The library has reached a settlement with institutions that declare the rights of some authors. In 1998, a portal of knowledge on the history of book and printing in the Netherlands was created. 40 specialists from Belgium and the Netherlands were invited to develop over 150 topics.


The library collects and stores collections (books, manuscripts and archival documents) belonging to representatives of the scientific, literary and artistic life of the Netherlands. Selected special collections: medieval manuscripts. incunabula. It is the largest collection in the world with approximately 900 volumes. bindings, part of which is the collection of the antiquarian Anton W.M. Mensing. It has 12,000 volumes. The oldest binding is from 1540. In the nineteenth century, it expanded to include collections donated by successive rulers, William I, II and III. Japanese and Dutch paper collection. It was initiated in 1972 by the purchase of the H. Voorn collection with production equipment and specialist literature. In the following years, it was expanded with the collection of Japanese paper by P.F. Siebold, the collection of decorative papers by the Amsterdam antiquarian S. Emmering and the collection of papers by G. Dessauer. a collection of alba amicorum, or diaries also called friendship albums. They come mainly from the second half of the 16th and 17th centuries. The oldest copy is from 1556, and the library has about 770 volumes.


External Links

Early Dutch Books Online Knowledge portal on the history of books and printing