Size: The Koninklijke Bibliotheek owns a collection of letters of approximately 125,000 to 150,000 items from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the present. Letters from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are by far the most numerous among them.
Accessibility: Apart from the letters in a few extensive archival items, all letters in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek have in principle been described in the Catalogus Epistularum Neerlandicarum. The records were made on the basis of the alphabetical card catalogue in the Department of Special Collections. Cards that contain insufficient information have been omitted. As the final check has not yet taken place, it is useful to check not only the CEN but also the alphabetical card file.
More Information: Ad Leerintveld - 070-3140320
Willem van Oranje. Signed letter to [the authorities of Breda]. Antwerpen, 4 okt. 1580. Shelfnumber 135 B 208.
Last part of a letter from Dick Ket to Nel Schilt with self portrait in ink and chalk. Bennekom, 16 okt. 1931. Shelfnumber 68 C 8. Fol. 47v.
The collection contains letters from men and women of learning, literary men and women, artists and politicians. Among the scholars you come across a variety of characters such as the classical scholar, historian and numismatist Gijsbert Cuper (1644-1716), the versatile R.M. van Goens (1758-1810), the historian and Rijksarchivaris (Head of the Public Record Office) Hendrik van Wijn (1740-1831), the professor in Dutch Jan te Winkel (1847-1927) and the psychologist of religion and publicist Fokke Sierksma (1917-1977). Among the literary collections, the most prominent are those of poet and statesman Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687), the publisher and poet J. Immerzeel Jr. (1776-1841), the correspondence archive of the and the autographs of and to the poet and critic Hendrik Marsman (1899-1940). With respect to the modern men and women of literature there are agreements with the Letterkundig Museum: in this field the Koninklijke Bibliotheek merely complements those files that have been in its possession for a long time. Among the artists we can mention the painter Jan Toorop (1858-1928), the painter and etcher Willem Witsen (1860-1923) and the composer Willem Pijper (1894-1947). Furthermore there are small files on figures such as the painters R.N. Roland Holst (1868-1938) and Dick Ket (1902-1938). Politically orientated collections are, amongst others, those of Ch. Fr. Lebrun (1739-1824) and L.W.C. Keuchenius (1822-1893). Besides, there are a few extensive collections of family letters, e.g. in the archive of Cornets de Groot and the circle of family and friends around A.J. Enschedé (1829-1896). Furthermore, there are numerous, more or less individual letters which have entered the Koninklijke Bibliotheek as part of the collection of a collector of autographs, for example that of G.J. Beeldsnijder van Voshol (1791-1853).