Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts (data set)

Contents of the sets

Mediaeval Illuminated Manuscripts consists of two datasets:

The two sets are linked: the illuminations can be found for each manuscript and the manuscript can be found for each illumination.

The sets were prepared as a co-operative project between the KB (8,376 illustrations from 330 manuscripts) and Huis van het Boek (2,765 illustrations from 70 manuscripts). The metadata field can be used to find out which institution holds a given manuscript.

This material can be searched on, where there is also more help and background information on the material.


The following information is available for each of the 400 manuscripts in the BYVANCK set:

  1. descriptive metadata (Dublin Core in XML)

The following files are available for the illuminations in the **ByvanckB **set:

  1. a picture 750 pixels wide (JPG)
  2. a thumbnail 125 pixels wide (JPG)
  3. a photo of the entire manuscript page with the illumination (JPG) (not available for all illuminations)
  4. descriptive metadata with permanent links to these three pictures (Dublin Core in XML)
  5. a picture of approx 2,000 x 3,000 pixels, stored offline (TIFF)

There is some 600 kB of metadata in the BYVANCK set. The metadata and digital objects in the ByvanckB set are about 3 GB.


Technical explanation and examples of:

  • descriptive metadata of the manuscripts (Dublin Core),
  • descriptive metadata of the illuminations (Dublin Core),
  • objects (JPEG),
  • metadata harvesting API based on OAI-PMH,
  • search API based on SRU,

are available in the comprehensive technical explanation (presently only in Dutch) on the set (PDF).

Terms and conditions for reuse & credits

  • The Koninklijke Bibliotheek and Huis van het Boek have waived their copyright on the metadata **for both sets, which, therefore, have a**CC0 licence.
  • There is a Public Domain Mark for the objects (illustrations) in the ByvanckB set, which means that there are no copyright restrictions on reproducing, publishing, processing or sharing these illustrations.

Although there is no requirement to credit the source when using the set, the KB and Huis van het Boek would be grateful for this. Please use the following text:

Huis van het Boek & National Library of the Netherlands, The Hague. Source: – [link to object].

Contact & feedback

We are very interested in who uses the data and for what purpose, so please send an email to @email with your contact details and a brief description of what you use the data for. Feedback on our data and APIs is of course also very welcome. The information you provide also allows us to notify you of developments such as changes in the datasets or the release of new datasets.