Church and Religious History

Maarten Luther to Hieronymous Baumgärtner, 1 january 1531. [Hs. 78 Em 1]

Letter by Martin Luther

This collection domain contains collections that amply represent the Western European non-conformist Protestant movements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The libraries of the Lutheran Seminary, the Amsterdam Remonstrant Church and the Mennonite Church of Amsterdam formed the basis for this. Successive librarians of the City Library and the University Library also actively collected material in this field.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, a Jesuit collection was acquired, followed by the library of the beguinage in Amsterdam at the end of the twentieth century. As a result, Catholicism is also reasonably well represented. Bibles and hymn books were actively collected. The fact that Amsterdam served as the publishing centre for non-conformist religious literature, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, contributed to the richness of the collection.


The collections in this collection domain are among the largest in the Special Collections and, in many cases, among the finest collections in the Netherlands. Thanks to the wealth of subjects and the diversity of expressive forms, these collections are an important source for research and education in a range of fields, such as the history of religious communities, especially Mennonites and Lutherans and the supporters of Hendrik Niclaes, Jean de Labadie, Antoinette de Bourignon and many others, the Reformation, the religious history of the Netherlands and Amsterdam in particular, the art of printing and the many clandestine printers, and the Golden Age. The bibles, together with those of VU University Amsterdam and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, form the most important source for the online bibliography Biblia Sacra.


The Mennonite Church of Amsterdam still contributes to the growth of the library, which is frequently used by students of the Lutheran Seminary (VU).


Collection profile

  • Bibles
  • Hymn books, mostly from the Netherlands
  • Religious publications from Amsterdam
  • Mennonites
  • Remonstrants
  • Lutherans
  • Smaller Protestant religions

Important collections

Published by  Special Collections UvA

22 August 2014