Over 11,000 illuminations (illustrations and decorations) from 400 mediaeval manuscripts.
Contents of the sets
Mediaeval Illuminated Manuscripts consists of two datasets:
- The BYVANCK set describes each of the 400 manuscripts. There is information on the creator, material, language, place of origin, number of folios, physical dimensions and date of each manuscript: you can see the type of information on this page. This set represents about 15% of all the illuminated manuscripts currently preserved in the Netherlands. Overall descriptions of the KB’s part of this set are available here.
- The ByvanckB set contains photographs of the 11,141 illustrations in these 400 manuscripts and descriptions explaining the image, the dimensions of the illustration, the type of illumination, the creator, subjects illustrated (according to the Iconclass classification), etc. See, for example, the information on these illustrations. The illuminations come in many forms: painted miniatures, drawings, historiated initials, marginalia, etc. The set contains illuminations from classics of Dutch cultural history such as:
- Illuminations from Der Naturen Bloeme by Jacob van Maerlant
- Illuminations from Rijmbijbel by Jacob van Maerlant
- Illuminations from Beatrijs
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 Museum Meermanno | Huis van het Boek (2,765 illustrations from 70 manuscripts). The metadata field
This material can be searched on http://manuscripts.kb.nl/, 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:
- descriptive metadata (Dublin Core in XML)
The following files are available for the illuminations in the **ByvanckB **set:
- a picture 750 pixels wide (JPG)
- a thumbnail 125 pixels wide (JPG)
- a photo of the entire manuscript page with the illumination (JPG) (not available for all illuminations)
- descriptive metadata with permanent links to these three pictures (Dublin Core in XML)
- 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 Museum Meermanno | 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 Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum would be grateful for this. Please use the following text:
Museum Meermanno | Huis van het Boek &National Library of the Netherlands, The Hague. Source:manuscripts.kb.nl– [link to object].
Contact & feedback
We are very interested in who uses the data and for what purpose, so please send an email to 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.