There are numerous libraries in the Netherlands. Public libraries, research libraries, special libraries and private libraries of book collectors. But there is only one National Library, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), that is appreciated by many. But she also needs special attention from friends, close friends who take books to their hearts.
The National Library of the Netherlands
The KB is located in a rather modern, shiny white building close to The Hague Central Station. It is a national institution with an international reputation. For € 15,- per annum one can get access to the general and special collections. Visitors can also make use of the expertise of the KB staff members. Friends of the KB get a 50% discount off the price of a KB membership.
The KB is financially supported by the ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Nonetheless, the budget received does not meet all the needs and wants of the library. The continuous updating of the book collections, the journals and other printed and digital materials requires enormous amounts of money, due to the ever increasing flow of new publications. And the special collections need to be extended as well, if possible. The KB owns a unique collection of old manuscripts and early printed books. Especially due to the demand from abroad the acquiring of rare items has become a costly business. To be able to safeguard items that belong to the Dutch national cultural heritage, institutes like the KB need to have extra money within reach. This is not a recent phenomenon. More than 80 years ago the Dutch writer Menno ter Braak showed that the KB could not do without the support of Friends, if she were to fulfil her irreplaceable role in the cultural life in the Netherlands.
In 1938 the 'Vereniging Vrienden van de KB' (Friends Association of the KB) was founded. Since then, it has brought about many extra fundings with which the KB was able to purchase important acquisitions. Medieval manuscripts, incunabula, block books, rare bookbindings, special collections, the items purchased with money from the Friends Association of the KB are always exceptional. National tasks of the KB, such as the compiling of the national bibliography, the updating of the Dutch union catalogues, the co-ordination of interlibrary loan, and the building of the Dutch deposit collection are all on the expense of the Dutch government. Sometimes contributions from the Friends Association may however be used for the production of special publications.
Not just the money
During the past years, the KB, as most of the other governmental organizations, had to reduce her expenses regarding exploitation of her facilities and her purchases. The Friends Association can, now more than ever, play an important role to help fulfil special wishes of the library. But the Friends Association of the KB also aims at raising awareness of and interest in the numerous collections of the KB. Furthermore, the Friends Association would like to bring together all those who use the facilities and collections of the KB, in order to become a powerful group of loyal supporters.
There are several advantages for members of the Friends Association of the KB: each year, the Friends Association organizes (at least) two seminars or excursions about books and libraries. Furthermore, Friends are informed about new publications of the KB and get a 25% discount in the book shop of the KB. Finally, Friends pay only € 7,50 per annum for a KB-membership, so they have a 50% reduction on the usual price.
You can become a member of the Friends Association of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek by filling in the appropriate form and transferring the membership fee. For individual members, the fee is € 30,- per annum (or more, at your discretion); for firms and organizations the fee is set at (a minimum of) € 80,- per annum. Fortunately, many members of the Friends Association support the KB by donating a bonus on top of the fee. The form can be obtained from the secretariat of the Friends Association, located at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5, 2509 LK Den Haag, The Netherlands. The secretariat can be reached by phone at +31 00 70 3140217.
You may also become a membership of the Friends Association through the web. You are requested to transfer the minimum contribution of € 30,- for the current year to our account at the ING, NL19 INGB 0000338208, on behalf of the Vereniging Vrienden van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague. Additionally, you are requested to fill in the online registration form of the Friends Association of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.
Thank you for becoming a member of our Friends Assocation!