Dutch language and literature: expertise of the KB

The KB collects everything about Dutch language and literature. We want to digitise as many of these works as possible and publish them online, for example in the Digital Library of Dutch Literature (DBNL). We also share our knowledge through lectures, articles and exhibitions and on websites such as literatuurgeschiedenis.org. To that end, we often collaborate with other organisations, such as Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Union for Language). Read more about this KB expertise.

Dutch language and literature at the KB

The KB collects all books and magazines that have to do with Dutch language and literature: everything from handwritten books dating back to the Middle Ages to modern children's books, from humorous poetry to serious novels, from the oldest Dutch grammars to the latest issue of the magazine Onze Taal. We also collect secondary literature: in other words, literature about writers and books.


One of our goals is to make as many of these works as possible available digitally, and we therefore share them online as soon as copyright permits. We manage the Digital Library of Dutch Literature, or DBNL. There, you will find thousands of books and journals of importance for the linguistic, literary and cultural history of the Netherlands. All freely viewable from any place in the world. The site receives an average of 5 million visits a year.

The KB also stores works that were originally digital, such as books that were only published in digital form, and websites.


We also collaborate with other organisations that, like us, are committed to preserving and sharing Dutch language and literature, such as the Nederlandse Taalunie (the Union for the Dutch Language). And we share our knowledge about our collection in various ways, for example by holding lectures, organising exhibitions and contributing to articles in newspapers and magazines, or writing them ourselves.

Why does the KB collect everything that has to do with Dutch language and literature?

As the national library of the Netherlands, the KB's mandate is to preserve all Dutch books, newspapers and magazines, so that no part of our culture is lost. We have been doing this for more than two centuries. In recent years, our collection has also grown to include works that are only published in digital form, such as websites.

Our experts in the area of Dutch language and literature

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