House rules

The material from the Special Collections is often very rare and valuable. That is why we have established the following house rules which must be observed when using the reading rooms.

On this page:


  • The reading rooms are intended solely for consulting materials from the Special Collections.
  • Coats and bags (including handbags and/or laptop cases) must be stored in the lockers on the first floor (deposit €1).
  • Food and drinks are only allowed in the Museum Café.
  • Mobile phones must be switched off.
  • Please take other visitors into consideration at all times; offensive or annoying behaviour will not be tolerated.

Handling valuable material

  • You are kindly requested to wash your hands before consulting valuable material.
  • You may consult up to four works at any one time.
  • You may be required to wear special gloves to consult certain valuable works.
  • The consulted works may never leave the room under any condition whatsoever.
  • It is forbidden to use any writing material other than the pencils provided on the tables.
  • You must always put your pencil down on the table before turning the pages.
  • When consulting any work, the cushions provided for that purpose must always be used as intended.
  • A tightly bound book may never be opened any further than possible. A tightly bound book may only be held open using weighted cords.
  • When taking notes, the paper you write on must be next to and never on the original.
  • It is not permitted to lean on the books or to hold them on your lap or against the edge of the table.
  • It is forbidden to stack opened books or to place opened books face down on the table.
  • Any fold-out pictures must be folded out and in again with due care.
  • If you take a break, you are kindly requested to return the consulted works to the desk.

Weighing valuable material

  • Material may be weighed before you consult it. The library assistant will weigh the material again when you return it.
  • You will only be allowed to leave the hall if the material weighs the same as when it was weighed the first time.
  • If there is any difference between the weights measured, we will inform you of this. We will then notify the head curator, who will investigate the possible cause of the difference in weight.

Digital recordings and photocopies

  • You may take your own digital photographs, subject to certain conditions. You must first request and complete the appropriate form at the desk.
  • Any digital photographs must be taken within sight of the desk staff. 
  • The use of tripods and flash photography is not allowed. 

Published by  Special Collections UvA

4 July 2014