Royal Library of the Netherlands

Coordinates: 52°4′50.37″N 4°19′36.35″E / 52.0806583°N 4.3267639°E / 52.0806583; 4.3267639
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KB National Library of the Netherlands
The KB as seen from the Prins Bernhardviaduct
TypeNational Library
Established1798 (226 years ago) (1798)
LocationThe Hague
Coordinates52°4′50.37″N 4°19′36.35″E / 52.0806583°N 4.3267639°E / 52.0806583; 4.3267639
Size7 million printed items: over 115 km (71 miles) of books, newspapers, journals, and microforms[1]
Access and use
Other information
Budget€53 million
DirectorLily Knibbeler

The Royal Library of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek or KB; Royal Library) is the national library of the Netherlands. It is based in The Hague. It was founded in 1798.[2][3] The KB collects everything that is published in the Netherlands. It also collection everything about the Netherlands. This includes anything from medieval literature to today's publications (books, newspapers, etc.). There are about 7 million publications in the stockrooms of the library. This includes books, newspapers, magazines and maps. The KB also offers many digital services. The main service is the national online Library. It has e-books and audiobooks. Other digital services include Delpher (millions of digitised pages) and The Memory. Since 2015, the KB has helped to bring together many institutions to make a large digital library.[4]

History[change | change source]

Representative Albert Jan Verbeek had the idea to create a national library. He suggested this on August 17, 1798. The basis of the collection would be William V's confiscated book collection.[5][6] The library was officially founded as the Nationale Bibliotheek on November 8 1798. This was after a group of representatives gave advice for the creation of a national library on the same day. At first, the National Library was only open to members of the Representative Body.

King Louis Bonaparte (the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte) gave called the national library the Royal Library in 1806. Napoleon Bonaparte transferred the Royal Library to The Hague as property, while also allowing the Imperial Library in Paris to expropriate publications from the Royal Library. In 1815 King William I of the Netherlands confirmed the name of 'Royal Library' (Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek) by royal resolution. It has been known as the National Library of the Netherlands since 1982, when it opened new quarters.[7] The institution became 'Independent Administrative Body' of the state in 1996, although it is financed by the Department of Education, Culture and Science. On 18 November 2014 the Wsob (Public Library Facilities System Act or 'Library Act') came into being. The act became valid on 1 January 2015 and from this moment onwards four organizations from the library world continued under the name Koninklijke Bibliotheek. These organizations are Sector Institute Public Libraries (SIOB), the Foundation (BNL), the Digital Library for Dutch Literature (DBNL) and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB).

Collection[change | change source]

The humanities are central to the collection of the KB, with an emphasis on Dutch history, language and culture.

In 2016, the KB contained 7,000,000 items, equivalent to 115 kilometers of bookshelves. Most items in the collection are books. There are also pieces of "grey literature", where the author, publisher, or date may not be apparent but the document has cultural or intellectual significance.[7] The collection contains almost the entire literature of the Netherlands, from medieval manuscripts to modern scientific publications. As there was no law for depositing Dutch publication the library started on January 1 1974 the voluntary Dutch Repository Library. This in contrast with most other countries that have a legal deposit of publications. For a publication to be accepted, it must be from a registered Dutch publisher.[7]

The collection is accessible for members. Any person aged 16 years or older can become a member. One day passes are also available. Requests for material take approximately 30 minutes. The KB hosts several open access websites, including the "Memory of the Netherlands" (Geheugen van Nederland),[8] Digital Library for Dutch Literature[9] and Delpher, an archive of more than 100 million pages as of 2020.[10]

Literature museum[change | change source]

The Literature museum (in Dutch: Literatuurmuseum) was founded in 1750[11] as Nederlands Letterkundig Museum,[12] The museum contains a large collection of letters, manuscripts and memorabilia. The museum has three permanent and several temporary exhibitions. It also contains a special children's book museum.[11] On 4 February 2016, an online museum was opened.[12] On 1 November 2016, the museum was renamed to Literature museum.[13] The museum has a reading room with an extensive collection of newspaper clipping, and under certain conditions, some archival material can be consulted.[11]

Research[change | change source]

The KB's Research Department is engaged in internationally renowned research in the field of digital technology, sustainable preservation and accessibility of both paper and digital heritage. Important topics are the applicability of artificial intelligence, the use of big data, the increasing importance of privacy & security, the changes in the publishing and publishing world and the role of public libraries in today's society.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "KB in a nutshell". Archived from the original on 2018-07-16. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  2. "Koninklijke Bibliotheek / Royal Library of the Netherlands". The Conference of European National Librarians (CENL). Archived from the original on 2020-06-07. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  3. "Dutch Royal Library | library, The Hague, Netherlands". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  4. "The National Library of the Netherlands - Digital Preservation (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  5. "National Library of The Netherlands". Preserving the World's Rarest Books. 2018-02-13. Archived from the original on 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  6. Hanson, J. C. M. (April 1940). "Review: The Royal Library of the Netherlands". The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy. 10 (2). The University of Chicago Press: 266–269. doi:10.1086/614725. JSTOR 4302710. S2CID 148032362.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Murray, Stuart (2009). The Library: An Illustrated History. Chicago: Skyhorse Publishing.
  8. "Image database - Memory of the Netherlands - Online image database of archives, museums and libraries".
  9. "Organisatie". Digital Library for Dutch Literature (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  10. "Delpher: de Organisatie". Delpher (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Literatuurmuseum". The Memory. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Literatuurmuseum". Mondriaan Fonds. Archived from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  13. "Letterkundig Museum wordt Literatuurmuseum". Literatuur Museum (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.

Other websites[change | change source]