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Where does the KB, National Library of the Netherlands, keep all its books? And how can we make sure that we’re storing them correctly? The National Library collection never stops growing. That’s why a new repository is needed; to ensure the secure and energy-neutral storage of the collection for the long-term.

Sustainable book storage

Our aim is to find a sustainable way to store our printed collection. We want to do this by creating the best storage conditions for the collection, with as little impact on the planet as possible. The new repository will be a passive building without huge climate control systems. Solar panels will ensure that the building is energy-neutral. The oxygen level inside will be low, to diminish the chance of fire. This will allow us to store the collection safely for the future.

Safe, compact storage

The KB wants to store our national written heritage collection safely for the future. We also want to continue facilitating research of the collection. We do this digitally, but it must also remain possible for people to view the parts of the collection that have not been digitised. To preserve our printed and written collection - such as books, newspapers, magazines, maps, and pamphlets - we are developing a special repository on the outskirts of The Hague. When this repository is in use, customers will still be able to study the physical collection. This collection will remain accessible upon request and can be viewed in the in the KB reading rooms.

To store a 120-kilometre collection compactly, it’s necessary to make maximal use of the available height. And to make height accessible, a high-tech solution is needed. Therefore, in the new repository a robot system will be used to pick up and return ordered books. Staff will see to it that the requested items are taken to the KB reading rooms and returned to the repository.

A future-proof repository

The KB wants the design of the new repository to contribute to a more sustainable world. We are using as few new materials as we can, and will try to use existing materials for as long as practically possible. By adopting passive building solutions, such as good insulation and air density, and by using locally sourced green energy, we are even aiming to create surplus energy.

Collaboration partner

The Central Government Real Estate Agency is helping the KB to turn its dreams for the new repository into reality.

Climate research

The KB is researching how it can move the printed part of the National Library collection from a climate controlled, to a non-climate controlled storage facility. To avoid unwelcome surprises, we are using a thermal-hygric simulation model of the new repository in our preparatory research. Read more about this climate research for the new repository.

Contact person

Foekje Boersma
Head of the Collection Preservation Department