Comic strips and comic books

Table of contents

Overview of the collection of comic strips and comic books

  • Contents: comic strips, comic magazines and comic books from the Netherlands and Flanders.
  • Size: more than 35,000 issues.
  • Access: can be found via the KB catalogue. Available for inspection in the Special Collections reading room; cannot be lent out.
  • More informationKarin Vingerhoets.

About the KB's collection of comic strips and comic books

Vandersteen, W. Rikki en Wiske in Chocowakije, Antwerp/Amsterdam, 1975 (reissue of the first edition from 1946).

The KB collects all comic books and comic magazines published in the Netherlands and Flanders. As a national library, the KB's main focus is on publications that are published in the Netherlands or are about the Netherlands. The comic collection is an exception, as it also includes Dutch-language Belgian publications. Many Flemish comic books are also popular in the Netherlands: Spike and Suzy (Dutch: Suske en Wiske), for example. Moreover, the rich history of Flemish comics has greatly influenced the Dutch comic world.

History of the KB's collection of comic strips and comic books

Dick Matena and Gerard Reve, De Avonden, een beeldverhaal. Amsterdam, 2003-2004. Appeared in 4 parts.

For a long time, comics mostly existed in the form of comic magazines and comic books, which told sequential stories about the same characters. In the 1950s, a new format appeared: the magazine album. Though smaller than regular albums and lacking a hard cover, these magazine albums did contain a complete story. The 1970s then saw the birth of the graphic novel, literary comic books for adults. One of the best-known examples of this in the Netherlands is Dick Materna's version of De Avonden by Gerard Reve. 

Until the 1950s, comic books were looked down upon in some circles, and it was not common for libraries to collect comic books. Because of that, the KB only had a small comic book collection for a long time. However, the perception of comics changed over the course of the second half of the 20th century, and the KB established a policy for comic collection. Thanks to gifts and purchases, that collection has since grown considerably. New comics also continue to be added through the depot for Dutch publications.

Accessibility of the comic strips and comic books collection

The titles in the comics collection can be found via the KB catalogue. Many of the strips are fragile, and can therefore only be viewed in the Special Collections reading room; in some cases, special conditions may apply.

Literature about the collection comic strips and comic books

Books (in Dutch)

  • Matla, H. Stripkatalogus. Panda, 1998.
  • Helden, W. van, Eijck, R. van, Waterschoot, J. van & Pollman, J. Strips! 200 jaar Nederlands beeldverhaal. Lecturis, 2013.