Low Countries History in the Institute of Historical Research Library

  Collecting works on the history of the Low Countries has always been a central priority of the Institute’s library since its inception. In 1921, the same year the Institute was founded, the eminent Dutch historian Pieter Geyl convinced the University of London’s Dutch Studies Committee to transfer the Low Countries holdings of the library of Bedford College for Women to the brand new Institute:

I am very anxious indeed to transfer these books to the institute, as I am convinced that there can be no place where they could be of greater use to the historian in general, and I venture to say they would form a real asset to the institute.
Pieter  Geyl, 1921.

Since then this core has been augmented by major donations, notably from the Dutch government which from October 1925 has presented the library, on perpetual loan, thousands of items, many of them from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Other major donations have come from institutions such as the Archive Générale de Belgique, made in the early 1960s, as well as individuals such as Pieter Geyl himself, Koenraad Wolter Swart and Jonathan Israel.

In short this generosity, as well as decades of purchasing, has resulted in a collection of approximately 4,500 items - one of the richest resources for the research of Low Countries history outside the region itself.

 

Arrangement of the Collection

 The collection has a similar structure to many of the other geographical collections in the Institute starting with bibliographies, archive guides and auxiliary subjects (including historiography), then more general primary source and reference materials. Afterwards, due the nature of the history of the region, Dutch (including Dutch colonial history) and Belgian history have their own separate sub-collections. Then it moves on to local history, going from Frisia in the north to Liège and Luxembourg in the south. At the very end one can find an extensive collection of Dutch and Belgian historical periodicals. For a summary see below:

EN.0                Archive Guides & Bibliographic Works

EN.1-5            General Historical Works and Series on the entire region.

  • EN.1                General Works covering all periods
  • EN.2                Major Reference Works
  • EN.3                The Low Countries to c. 1579
  • EN.5                The Low Countries after c. 1579

ENA                History of the Netherlands and the Dutch Empire

ENB                Belgian History

ENL                Low Countries Local History/History of Luxembourg

ENP                Low Countries Periodicals

Collection Strengths

Archive Guides & Bibliographies

The library has a large collection of bibliographies and guides to a number of archives including the main national collections - the Algemeen Rijksarchief of the Netherlands and the Archives Générales of Belgium – as well as those of many cities, towns and individuals. You can also find at the end of the section a collection on the historiography of the Low Countries.

Examples from this section include:

Algemeen Rijksarchief. Inventarissen van Rijks- en andere archieven van rijskwege uitgegeven

Archives Générale. Les archives de l’État en Belgique

Feith, Hendrik Octavius. Register van het archief van Groningen

Geyl, Pieter. ‘Ik die zo weinig in het verleden lief’ : autobiografie 1887-1940

Landwehr, John. VOC : a bibliography of publications relating to the Dutch East India Company 1602-1800

Lyon, Bryce Dale. Henri Pirenne : a biographical and intellectual study

Knuttel, Willem. Catalogus van de pamfletten-verzameling berustende in de Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Paul, Herman. Het moraes van de geschiedenis : nederlandse debatten over historisme

Rijksarchief te Brugge. Inventarissen van gemeentearchieven

 

General Series on Low Countries History

The collection includes an extensive run of two vital series for anyone undertaking research in this field; the works published by the Historisch Genootschaap te Utrecth and the Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatieën (Grote and Kleine series). Moreover one will also be able to find here a large collection of reference works, medieval works on the Low Countries and sources on the early Habsburg Low Countries and first few decades of the revolt.

Works found in this section include:

Devillers, Leopold. Cartulaire des comtes de Hainaut de l’avénement de Guillaume II à la mort de Jacqueline de Bavière

Granvelle, Antoine Perrenot de. Correspondance du Cardinal de Granvelle, 1565-1586

Groen van Prinsterer, Guillaume…[et al.] Archives ou correspondance inédite de la maison d’Orange-Nassau

Margaret of Parma. Correspondance…avec Philippe II

Muller, Samuel (ed.) De registers en rekeningen van het Bisdom Utrecht, 1325-1336

Rüter, Adolf Johann Cord (ed.) Rapporten van de gouverneurs in de provinciën, 1840-1849

Staten Generaal. Resolutiën der Staten-Generaal van 1576 to 1609

Stevens, Fred…[et al.] Constitutional documents of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands 1789-1848

Van Dooren, J. P…[et al.] Classicale acta 1573-1620 : particuliere Synode Zuid-Holland

Van Wissing, P. W. Biografisch woordenboek Gelderland

 

The History of the Dutch Republic from the war with Spain to the late 18th century.

The material on the United Provinces during the Gouden Eeuw (c. 17th century) and the 18th century is the primary strength of the entire Low Countries collection. This sub-collection includes published letters, diaries, institutional records and early printed pamphlets highlighting aspects of the political, religious, commercial and social history of the Dutch Republic, as well as contemporary histories, written during the 17th century, giving a narrative of the Low Countries’ struggle with Spain. Together with the relevant parts of the general, Belgian, colonial and local collections, this is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the early modern Netherlands.

Works found in the section include:

Aitzema, Lieuwe van. Historie of verhael van saken van staet en oorlogh

Bor, Pieter. Nederlantsche oorloghen, beroerten, ende borgerlijcke oneenicheyden

Groot placaet-boeck, vervattende de placaten, ordonnantien ende edicten van de doorluchtige, hoogh mog. Heeren Staten Generael der Vereenighde Nederlanden

Grotius, Hugo. De rebus Belgicis

Huygen, Constantijn. Mijn leven verteld aan mijn kinderen

Kenkhuis, Arend. Het schuldboek van Arend Kenkhuis

Rowen, Herbert Harvey. The ambassador prepares for war : the Dutch embassy of Arnaud de Pomponne, 1669-1671

Vuyk, Simon (trans.) De Arminiaanse vredeskerk : redevoeringen van Jacobus Arminius (1606) en Simon Episcopius (1618) over de onderlinge verdraagzaamheid van christenen

Witt, Johan de. Lettres et negociations entre Mr. Jean de Witt…et Messieurs les plenipotentiaires des Provinces Unies des Pais-Bas : aux cours de France, Angleterre, de Suede, de Danemarc, de Pologne, &c

 

Belgian History

Although relevant items on the area that became Belgium can be found in the sections on the medieval Low Countries and local history, the library has a collection devoted to Belgian history since the Union of Arras (1579) to the twentieth century with a particular emphasis on the periods from the eighteenth century to the First World War.

Works found in the section include: 

Gachard, M. (ed.) Actes des États Généraux de 1632

Joseph II Recueil de lettres originales de l’Empereur Joseph II au Général d’Alton

Juste, Théodore. La revolution belge de 1830 : d’après des documents inédits

Liste chronologique des édits et ordonnances des Pays-Bas autrichiens : 1700-1794

Rubens, Peter Paul. The letters of Peter Paul Rubens

Schmitz, Jean. Documents pour server à l’histoire de l’invasion allemande dans les provinces de Namur et de Luxembourg

Verlinden, Charles. Dokumenten voor de geschiedenis van prijzen en lonen in Vlaanderen en Brabant

 

Low Countries Local History

The various cities, towns, religious houses and social institutions of the Low Countries have left a rich resource of documentation which is reflected in the collection's local holdings. It has already been mentioned how this sub-collection would be of relevance to anyone researching more general topics in Dutch and Belgian history - and indeed anyone interested in wider European themes in urban or commercial history. However as one might expect, it would be equally valuable for anyone with a more local research focus. Overall the collection is strongest for the medieval and early modern periods with particular strengths including Amsterdam and Holland, the city and province of Utrecht, Flanders and Antwerp.

Works found in this section include:

Bost, Hubert (ed.) Le consistoire de l’église wallonne de Rotterdam, 1681-1706

Duijvendak, M. G. J. Geschiedenis van Groningen

Fairon, Émile. Régistres de la cite de Liége

Fokkens, Melchior. Beschrijvingh der wijdt-vermaarde koop-stadt Amstelredam

Frijhoff, Willem…[et al.] Geschiedenis van Amsterdam

Generale inhoud van alle de placaten, ordonnantien,…begrepen in ses registers op het Groot Utrechts placaetboek

Hamaker, Hendrik Gerard. De Middeneeuwsche keurboeken van de stad Leiden

Ketner, F. (ed.) Oorkondenboek van het Sticht Utrecht tot 1301

Sjoerds, Foeke. Algemene beschryvinge van oud en nieuw Friesland

Van Severen, Louis Gilliodts. Cartulaire de l’ancienne staple de Bruges : recueil de documents concernant le commerce intérieur et maritime, les relations internationals et l’histoire économique de cette ville

Vercauteren, Fernand (ed.) Actes des comtes de Flandre, 1071-1128

Wampach, Camillus. Urkunden- und Quellenbuch zur Geschichte der altluxemburgischen Territorien bis zur burgundischen Zeit

 

Dutch and Belgian Colonial History

Works on Dutch and Belgian exploration and imperial expansion can be found in the Low Countries collection itself and also the library’s colonial collections. In the Dutch collection there is a sub-section devoted solely to Dutch colonial history, comprising mainly of published letters, travel journals and the publications of the Linschoten Society, while in the library’s colonial collections one can find material on New Netherland, Dutch colonisation of South Africa and the Belgian Congo.

Works found in this section include:

Adrichem, Dircq van. Journaal van Dircq van Adrichem’s hofreis naar den Groot-Mogol Aurangzēb 1662

Allard, Fernand. Journal du Congo (1905-1907) : un apprentissage missionnaire

Banning, Emile. Mémoires, politiques et diplomatiques : comment fut fondé le Congo belge

Broecke, Pieter van den. Pieter van den Broecke's journal of voyages to Cape Verde, Guinea and Angola (1605-1612)

Fernow, Berthold. The records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674 anno Domini

Hoorn, Jan Ambrosius. Verdrinken zonder water : de memoires van VOC-matroos Jan Ambrosius Hoorn, 1758-1778

Jong van Rodenburgh, Cornelis de. ‘Weest wel met alle menschen’ : de ‘Kaapse brieven’ van Cornelius de Jong van Rodenburgh (1762-1838)

Mello, José Antônio Gonsalves de. Fontes para a história do Brasil holandês.

Stuyvesant, Peter. Correspondence, 1647-1653 & Correspondence, 1654-1658

Tasman, Abel. De reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher ter nadere ontdekking van het Zuidland in 1642/3 en 1644

 

Periodicals

Complementing the entire collection are the library’s holdings of Low Countries periodicals. These consist of long runs of general titles central to the historical research of the Low Countries, specialist titles with a narrower geographical, topical or chronological scope, as well as runs of now rare nineteenth century titles.

Works found in the section include: 

Bijdragen en mededelingen betreffende de geschiedenis der Nederlanden

Bijdragen voor de geschiedenis van het Bisdom van Haarlem

Bijdragen voor vaderlandsche geschiedenis en oudheidkunde

Bulletin de la Commission Royale d’Histoire

Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis

Tijdschrift voor sociale geschiedenis (later title Tijdschrift voor sociale en economisch geschiedenis)

Vrij Nederland

De Zeventiende Eeuw
 

Other Relevant IHR Collections

Most of the Low Countries collection is on open access on the second floor of the library and sits alongside some of the Institute’s other main open-access European history collections including France, Spain and Germany. Also on the second floor are the IHR’s North American collections and the floor below houses the Institute’s British holdings; we hope with so much on open access – and easy to hand – this will be of benefit to researchers not only of Low Countries history but also for those engaged in comparative, transnational subjects.

Relevant Material Found in the IHR’s Other Collections

Callières, François de. Lettres (1694-1700) of François de Callières to the Marquise d’Huxelles

Delavaud, Louis Charles Marie. Le marquis de Pomponne, ambassadeur et secrétaire d’état, 1618-1699 : documents publiés pour la Societé d’histoire diplomatique

La France et la Belgique sous l’occupation allemande 1940-1944 : les fonds allemands conserves au Centre Historique des Archives nationales

Miege, Guy. The new state of England, under our present monarch K. William III

Oosterhoff, F. G. The Earl of Leicester’s governorship of the Netherlands, 1586-1587

Philip II Correspondencia privada de Felipe II con su secretario Mateo Vázquez

Prestage, Edgar. A embaixada de Tristão de Mendonça Furtado á Holanda em 1641 : com documentos elucidativos

Public Record Office. Calendar of state papers, domestic series, of the reign of William and Mary

Ruyter, Michiel Adriaanszoon de. ‘Een vriendelijcke groetenisse’ : Brieven van het thuisfront aan de vloot van De Ruyter (1664-1665)

Van der Plas, Louis. Kongolees oorlogsdagboek 1916-1918

Wautier, François-Xavier de. Mémoires d’un officier belge

Weber, Karl Klaus. Resolutionen der Generalstaaten 1576-1625 : niederländische Regesten zur späten Hansegeschichte

 

Other useful libraries and institutions in London

British Library – see the Dutch and Flemish Collections, the Belgian francophone collections and Luxembourg Collection

Senate House Library – One of the premier libraries in the country for the study of the humanities; the Elzevier Press Collection would be of particular importance for anyone interested in the Low Countries.

Warburg Institute - Excellent holdings, especially for the early modern period and on the cultural and intellectual history of the region.

Courtauld Institute – A leading worldwide centre for the study of art history with large holdings on all aspects of the visual arts in the Low Countries.

UCL Library – The Dutch Library is a large collection comprising of c.12,000 volumes specialising in the language, literature, history and culture of the Low Countries.