National Library of the Netherlands

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Koninklijke Bibliotheek
(National Library of the Netherlands)
Logo Koninklijke Bibliotheek wordmark.svg
Koninklijke Bibliotheek (7985207450).jpg
The KB as seen from the Prins Bernhardviaduct
Type National Library
Established 1798
Location The Hague
Coordinates 52°4′50.37″N 4°19′36.35″E / 52.0806583°N 4.3267639°E / 52.0806583; 4.3267639Coordinates: 52°4′50.37″N 4°19′36.35″E / 52.0806583°N 4.3267639°E / 52.0806583; 4.3267639
Size 6 million items, over 110 km (68 miles) of books, newspapers, journals and microforms[1]
Access and use
Members 16,975
Other information
Budget € 53 million
Director Bas Savenije
Staff 281

The National library of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek or KB; Royal Library) is based in The Hague and was founded in 1798. The stated mission of the National Library of the Netherlands, as presented on the library's web site, is to provide "access to the knowledge and culture of the past and the present by providing high-quality services for research, study, and cultural experience".

King Louis Bonaparte gave the national library its current name in 1806. The institution became independent of the state in 1996, although it is financed by the Department of Education, Culture and Science.

In 2004, the National Library of the Netherlands contained 3,300,000 items, equivalent to 67 kilometers of bookshelves. Most items (2,500,000 books or 48 km) in the collection are books. The collection contains almost the entire literature of the Netherlands, from medieval manuscripts to modern scientific publications. 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).[2]

The National Library of the Netherlands is a small institution that plays a large role in the world of digital preservation. The library is a leader in supporting practical approaches to preservation through research and collaboration.

In 2003, the KB launched its e-Depot for the long-term management of electronic journal literature. e-Depot is closely tied to the digital life cycle and one of its key features involves agreements with publishers for direct transmission of content to the library's preservation environment.

Now, seven years and 15 million articles later, the KB is building on the success of e-Depot. "I think the seven-year itch is bothering us now," said Hilde van Wijngaarden, head of acquisitions and processing at the KB. "We are ready for a next-generation system."

The KB intends to become a large-scale digital library, networked with other institutions in the Netherlands. Their ambitious strategic plan for 2010–2013 outlines a number of objectives, such as, "We offer everyone access to everything published in and about the Netherlands," and, "We guarantee long-term storage of digital information."[3]

Further Useful Information About the "KB"


254.65 full-time equivalents = 281 employees (end 2012)


The future of the KB is digital. We have set three priorities for our digital future: digital: full speed ahead, reaching a wider audience and strengthening international cooperation.

Major activities

Deposit library for Dutch printed and electronic publications and the national bibliography Preservation, management, documentation and accessibility of the national cultural heritage Research library for the history, language and culture of the Netherlands Centre of expertise for digitization, digital preservation and preservation Research and development of scholarly information International focal point for libraries


The KB participates in the activities of some 30 national and international organisations, including:

  • Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL)
  • Conference of European National Librarians (CENL)
  • Consortium of the Netherlands university libraries and the National Library (UKB)
  • GII, (Consortium) Gemeenschappelijke Informatie-infrastructuur
  • International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA)
  • OCLC, centrum voor bibliotheekautomatisering
  • SURF Platform ICT en Onderzoek (nl)


6 million items = 110 km of library materials (books, newspapers, journals, microforms) 10,000 current periodicals, 425 licensed databases and e-journals


Annually the deposit print collection grows by 40,000 books and 71,000 issues of periodicals. In 2012 1.1 million digital items and 2,750 e-books were loaded.

Special collections

The KB also houses special collections including: mediaeval and modern manuscripts, old and rare books, pamphlets, book bindings, marbled papers and books on the history of paper, chess- and draughts, newspapers, cookery books and children's books.


Digital collections, reference and lending, interlibrary lending and document supply, digitizing, photocopies and scans, exhibitions and library tours.


Net floorspace of the building : 80,000 m2 Library: 37,000 m2, including 28,000 m2 stacks Other institutions: 15,000 m2


500 study seats including 125 with a work station, WiFi available

Library use

16,975 issued library passes 92,000 library visits 567,000 publications made available 4.9 million KB website visits

The KB sees the future in digitization and has begun an aggressive series of projects to digitize all of its holdings. It has also formed partnerships with such organizations such as Google to assist with that mission and to conduct research into new digitization methods and preservation. To learn more about the KB digitization initiatives, please visit their digitization pages.[4]

Book Bindings The KB's collection of bookbindings consists of approximately 12,000 hand-bound books. The collection has brought together bindings, mainly from Europe, because of their historic or aesthetic significance. They are almost all unique. Many of the fine bound books were part of the collections of the eighteenth-century stadholders William IV and V, came from the library of the Kings William I, II and III and from the collection of the Amsterdam-based auctioneer Anton W. M. Mensing.

This site shows a representative sample of the KB's bookbindings collection. The selection of roughly 1000 bindings gives an overview of the history of bookbindings from the 12th century until the beginning of the 21st century.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KB in a nutshell". 
  2. ^ "Image database - Memory of the Netherlands - Online image database of archives, museums and libraries". Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  3. ^ "The National Library of the Netherlands". U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Digitization | Koninklijke Bibliotheek". Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  5. ^ "Memory of the Netherlands - Online image database of archives, museums and libraries". Retrieved 2014-06-17. 

External links[edit]