Table of contents

Overview of the letters collection

  • Contents: letters from scholars, artists, authors, politicians and others, from the 16th century to the present day.
  • Size: 140.000-150.000 letters.
  • Access: the titles are described in the KB catalogue. They can be viewed in the Special Collections reading room, but we do not lend them out. The letters have also been included in the Catalogus Epistularum Neerlandicarum online catalogue.
  • More informationJeroen Vandommele.

About the letters collection

The KB’s letters collection is an important resource for historical research. The collection includes letters from scholars, such as cartographer Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598), classicist Gijsbert Cuper (1644-1716), R.M. van Goens (1758-1810), state archivist Hendrik van Wijn (1740-1831), Dutch-language scholar Jan te Winkel (1847-1927) and religious psychologist and publicist Fokke Sierksma (1917-1977).

In addition, the collection features letters from literary scholars, such as poet and statesman Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687), publisher and poet J. Immerzeel Jr (1776-1841), poet and critic Hendrik Marsman (1899-1940) and the correspondence archive of De Nieuwe Gids.

The collection also includes letters from artists, such as painters Jan Toorop (1858-1928) and Willem Witsen (1860-1923) and composer Willem Pijper (1894-1947). There are also letters from painters R.N. Roland Holst (1868-1938) and Dick Ket (1902-1938).

Political collections are those of Ch.Fr. Lebrun (1739-1824) and L.W.C. Keuchenius (1822-1893). In addition, the collection contains family correspondence, for example in the Cornets de Groot archive and the family and acquaintances of A.J. Enschedé (1829-1896). The KB also has individual letters from purchased collections, such as those of G.J. Beeldsnijder van Voshol (1791-1853). Some are from important figures in Dutch history between 1500 and 1800, such as Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), William of Orange (1533-1584), Hugo de Groot (1583-1645), Johan de Witt (1625-1672) and Michiel de Ruyter (1607-1676).

Origin of the letters collection

The letters were included in the collection in different ways and at different times.

Accessibility of the letters collection

The letters collection can only be consulted in the KB’s Special Collections reading room. All of the KB’s letters are also described in the Catalogus Epistularum Neerlandicarum (CEN).

Relationship with other collections

The KB has made arrangements with the Museum of Literature regarding the collections of modern writers and literary scholars. In this area, we only add to the collections already in our possession.