Core collection of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica

The collection: Works on the Christian hermetic tradition.
Size: c. 3,800 early printed books, 25 medieval books of hours and 400 post-medieval manuscripts.
Access: Almost all books are available to KB members. They can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room. Please request them by means of this form.
More information: Jan Bos(link sends e-mail) 070-3140665.

De veris ac salutaribus animi gaudiis dialogus
De veris ac salutaribus animi gaudiis dialogus
Adair book of hours
Adair book of hours

Collection profile

The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (BPH) is a collection in the field of the Christian hermetic tradition, a gnostic, philosophical and religious body of thought that has Egyptian, Greek, Jewish and Christian roots and dates back to the second century CE. But its influence reaches well into our own time.

Within this tradition, and in the Bibliotheca, four main sections can be distinguished: hermetic philosophy, alchemy, mysticism and Rosicrucians.

The special relevance of the library is first and foremost in the 'ad fontes'-principle. 'Ad fontes' means ‘to the sources’. The closer you get to the source, the closer you are to the truth. That is why J.R. Ritman collected the oldest and most original writings in these fields. The library contains many early printed books and old manuscripts, that make up the core collection of the BPH. It is unique in its completeness.

History of the collection

The BPH was founded as a private library by J.R. Ritman in 1957. In 1984, the library was opened for the public. The core collection of the BPH has been transferred to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

Catalogues of the BPH core collection