Navigating through the KB

On this page you can read what you can find on each floor in the KB.

Entrance of the KB

Entrance of the KB

You enter the KB on the ground floor. 

  • Take the stairs to the basement to put your coats and bags in the lockers. These are not allowed in the reading rooms, nor are foods and drinks. KB baskets are available in the basement for taking your books, laptops and writing materials to the reading rooms.

Reading rooms and reception desk: 1st floor

The entrance to the reading rooms is on the 1st floor, immediately to the left. Here you will first find the KB Square, an area for relaxation with a cup of coffee.

You may not bring any foods or drinks into the information centre or the KB reading rooms (not even a bottle of water). This is to prevent damage to the books in the reading rooms. There are drinking fountains near the toilets on the way to the reading room.

  • You can become a member of the KB or apply for a reading room pass at the reception desk. Bring your identification and (if you want to become a member) an address card. 
  • There is also a shop at the reception desk where you can buy KB publications (e.g. books, diaries or postcards).

Information centre: 1st floor

In the Information Centre on the 1st floor you will find, among other things:

  • 65 PCs on which KB members can work and search in all digital sources.
  • Scanners.
  • A top-up machine to add credit to your pass.
  • Adapted workplace for people with a visual impairment.

General reading room: 1st floor

Through the Information Centre you reach the General Reading Room. There you will find:

  • A lending desk where KB members can collect most of the requested publications from the warehouses (in other words, all the material that does not fall under Special Collections). The larger part of the KB collection is in the storerooms and a small part can be found in the reading rooms. 
  • An information desk for all your questions about searching for information.
  • Reference works (including books and periodicals) on history, language, theology, geography, religion and popular culture. The reference numbers of these reference works always start with LZ. Reference works on the Netherlands can be found on the 2nd floor (Leeszaal van Nederland). The request numbers for these works always begin with NL.
  • A room with printers, copy machines and scanners. 
  • Tables with sockets for studying with your own laptop.
  • Wifi: ask for the log-in code at one of the desks.
  • Microfilm room (microfilms and microfiches of newspapers, magazines and books). 
  • Quiet area.
  • The chess section.

Reading Room of the Netherlands: 2nd floor

In the reading room of the Netherlands on the 2nd floor you will find:

  • A large collection of books about the history, language and culture of the Netherlands. You can take these books out of the bookcase to look at them. The request numbers of these books always start with NL.
  • A reading table with newspapers and magazines.
  • Current volumes of magazines in the field of history, architecture and social sciences, among others.
  • The law department.
  • Theme pavilions on important subjects from Dutch history to explore and discover. Think for instance of subjects such as the colonial past, migration, the Netherlands & Orange and religion in the Netherlands.

Special Collections Reading Room: 2nd floor

The Special Collections Reading Room is a separate room where KB members can consult fragile and valuable documents. All publications whose request number begins with KW, as well as other special materials, such as newspapers, and large formats, are issued here for consultation. Special Collections has its own opening hours and rules

You will also find a hand library with books and periodicals on Special Collections. The request numbers of these works always start with LHO, BAND or PC:

  • Catalogues of our own collections
  • Catalogues of special collections from other libraries in the Netherlands and abroad
  • Studies on the science of manuscripts (book illumination, codicology and palaeography)
  • Studies on book science (analytical bibliography)
  • Studies on bookbinding, paper history and conservation
  • Studies on children's books
  • Manuals of graphic techniques


The Special Collections Reading Room has a watermark and UV lamp. You may take pictures of material without flash for your own use. There is a tripod. 

KB house rules

  • Only KB members and visitors with a reading room pass have access. You can apply at the reception desk on the 1st floor for a free reading room pass. For more information about becoming a KB member, visit the 'Become a member' page.
  • Please note that large parts of the reading rooms are quiet areas. This is to enable those who wish to study to do so in peace and quiet.
  • You may not take any coats or bags into the reading rooms. In the basement there is a cloakroom with lockers where you can safely store your belongings. KB baskets are also available for your personal belongings. 
  • The KB building is a non-smoking building.
  • You may take photographs of publications in the KB without a flash for your own use. 
  • The KB wifi network is not secured. The use of computers and the internet connection is entirely at your own risk. The KB is not liable for damage, viruses or other (internet) threats.