Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Netherlands)

Hague, Netherlands


Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5;2595 BE The Hague

Telephone: +31 - 70 - 3140911;Fax: +31 - 70 - 3140450;E-mail: info@kb.nl;;PO Box 90407;2509 LK The Hague;The Netherlands

Main: http://www.kb.nl;Expert search: http://www.kb.nl/kb/manuscripts/search/index.html


The National Library of the Netherlands.

"With its five hundred illuminated medieval manuscripts, containing some 8.000 images, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek holds the largest collection of manuscript painting in The Netherlands. Although small in size compared to national libraries like the British Library, the Bibliothèque National de France or the Vatican Library, the collection boasts a rather large number of high quality books and it is especially well-supplied in its specific collecting area of Dutch illumination. The foundations of the collection were laid in 1798, when the library of the former Stadtholders, the princes of Orange-Nassau, was converted into a `national' library. In the first four decades of its existence important collections were acquired, for example those of the Leiden jurist Joost Romswinckel, the Grand Pensionary Jacob Visser, the eccentric Brussels aristocrat Joseph Désiré Lupus and Georges-Joseph Gérard, secretary to the Académie belge. The last two were acquired thanks to the personal initiative of king William I, who also purchased several individual precious manuscripts for the library. A second flowering of the collection of illuminated manuscripts took place during the librarianship of W.G.C. Byvanck, who added a large number of manuscripts originating from the Northern Netherlands. Since the second World War the Koninklijke Bibliotheek has seen an active policy regarding the acquisition of illuminated manuscripts, despite the fact that sharply rising prices have made it increasingly difficult to acquire major items. The main consideration at this has been to preserve the Dutch medieval cultural heritage for the Netherlands." - Library website

Last update March 29, 2022