History of the collection: The first initiative to start the collection was made at the end of the 1960s.
Size: The Deposit Library collection covers approximately 150 metres. The scholarly collection contains approximately seven hundred volumes.
Accessibility: The books are listed in the KB Catalogue; some are listed in the KB card catalogues. They may be examined in the library by written permission, but they cannot be taken out on loan.
More information: Anna Rademakers- 070-3140780

M. Toonder, Tom Poes vol. 1 no. 2, Dec. 1947. Amsterdam, 1947. Cover. Shelf mark: T 11032  

M. Toonder, Tom Poes vol. 1 no. 2, Dec. 1947. Amsterdam, 1947. Cover. Shelf mark: T 11032

Kapitein Rob in China. Cover. Shelf mark: 703483 and  H. Sprenger, Kick Wilstra. Cover. Shelf mark: 776879. 

Kapitein Rob in China. Cover. Shelf mark: 703483 and H. Sprenger, Kick Wilstra. Cover. Shelf mark: 776879.

J. Kuppens, Duppies avondturen. p. 9. Shelf mark: 7610527 

J. Kuppens, Duppie's avondturen. p. 9. Shelf mark: 7610527

Het geheim van Killarny. In: Sjors van de rebellenclub, no.4, 25 January 1958. Haarlem, 1958. p. 16.   

'Het geheim van Killarny'. In: Sjors van de rebellenclub, no.4, 25 January 1958. Haarlem, 1958. p. 16.

The collection

During the sixties the comic strip enjoyed unprecedented popularity in the Western world -- not only among children but particularly among intellectuals. The unsuspecting visitor who happened to visit one of the alternative eateries in Dutch university towns was likely to encounter the studying public, chop sticks in hand and bent over a bowl of mashed pumpkin, totally engrossed in Fritz the Cat, Flash Gordon or Suske en Wiske as though it were a treatise on Kant's categorical imperative. Yet reading comic strips was really a deadly serious affair; it wasn't just about fun, adolescent violence and sex. A need had arisen to plumb the medium's depths. So books appeared with titles such as Bande dessinée et figuration narrative, histoire, esthétique, production et sociologie de la bande dessinëe mondiale, procédés narratifs et structure de l'image dans la peinture contemporaine, and Comics, Anatomie eines Massenmediums. The Instituut voor Neerlandistiek (Institute for Dutch Studies) published a detailed Inhoudsanalyse van de Bommelstrips, and a comic strip symposium entitled Vom Geist der Superhelden was held in Berlin's distinguished Akademie der Kunste.
For the KB, is was simply taken for granted that, in the words of Jan Storm van Leeuwen, the KB's art history specialist who wrote a memorandum in 1969 on the desirability of a comic strip collection, 'the full extent of this cultural-historical phenomenon must be set down, and it should be done in the KB'. The KB realized that what lay before it was a splendid national responsibility, in which the existence of the children's book collection (to which comic strips are related) and the enormous collection of newspapers (in which many comics are published) played a role.
At first the Dutch comics were acquired on a grand scale, followed by a representative selection of foreign comics in the original languages, and literature on comic strips. With the arrival of the Deposit Library of Dutch Publications in 1974 the acquisition of Dutch-language comic strips changed. From then on they would be provided automatically. With this development the KB comic strip collection was split in two: the deposit library collection and the scholarly collection. In 1988 the Dutch comic strips then located in the scholarly collection were transferred to the Deposit Library. Both collections have been placed together in the same repository.
The deposit library collection is by far the largest and most important. It contains all the comic strips published in the Netherlands, at least those that are sent to the KB. The collection covers about 150 metres, half of which consists of series and magazines and the other half of albums. And all sorts of comics are included: Kuifje, Suske en Wiske, Sjors en Sjimmie, Eric de Noorman, Marten Toonder, the classic series, as well as pulp series such as Strips voor Volwassenen (including Bonte Verhalen, Taboe, Terror and Vampirissimo). Older materials has also come in through donations: a number of issues of Bruintje Beer from the war years, the first volume of the Tom Poes magazine (1947), and issues of Donald Duck, Sjors van de Rebellenclub, Kapitein Rob, Jimmy Brown and Flipje Tiel from the fifties and sixties.
The scholarly collection comprises approximately seven hundred items. The collection policy for comic strips in the scholarly collection has been toned down, since it is assumed that the good foreign strips in translation will make their way into the Deposit Library. Besides, the territory has become so vast that sound choices are barely possible within a limited budget. The KB does attempt to acquire a good overview of the history of the comic strip, handbooks and encyclopaedias.
The future scholar researching the culture of this period will really have a field day with this collection. He may discover that 'Vreten maar!!' (Eat up!!), no. 12 from the 'Terror' series, holds the secret of the bulimia problem. 'Bloederige Kerstmis' (Gory Christmas) may teach him something about the celebration of Christmas in certain circles, and 'Snakken naar Moord' (Craving for Murder) and 'De Gek aan het Stuur' (The Madman behind the Wheel) may provide information on driving behaviour during the 1980s. And what future feminists could fail to be interested in the escapades of Lucifera, in the series of the same name?


J. Storm van Leeuwen, 'Het Beeldverhaal. Wat is het, wat is het waard en wat moeten wij ermee?', in: Open, 4, 1972, pp. 603-619.
J. Storm van Leeuwen, 'Het Nederlandse beeldverhaal', in: Ons Erfdeel, 15, 1972, no. 2, pp. 52-74.
Inks: Cartoons and Comic Art Studies, T 11018.
Stripschrift, BEELDV T 9.
The Comics Journal, T 8679.
Stripkatalogus (official cumulative catalogue of Dutch and Frisian comic books and magazines) Hans Matla. LZ POP.C 45 MAT.