Cultural History of the Early Modern Period


Binding by Albertus Magnus

This collection domain covers European cultural history from circa 1500 to circa 1800. The collections within this collection domain have traditionally focused on printed materials produced in Amsterdam, which was the main centre of book production in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In addition, over the centuries, dozens of original collections, both large and small, and relating primarily to the history of Amsterdam, have been added to the existing collections.

This collection domain comprises over 100,000 books, more than 25,000 pamphlets and tens of thousands of plano prints. It also includes tens of thousands of letters and manuscripts, 20,000 prints and countless other objects, such as paintings, busts and medals.


Above all, the collection is a large and varied selection of printed historical sources and is of importance to many kinds of historical research. There is close collaboration with the research group for Book and Manuscript Studies, the departments of Dutch Studies and History, and the Amsterdam Centre for the Study of the Golden Age.

Collection profile 

  • Dutch language and literature, especially plays and authors’ collections, for instance by Vondel and Hooft

  • History, especially the history of the Dutch Golden Age, the city of Amsterdam and the Radical Enlightenment (Spinoza and his circle)

  • Popular publications (almanacs, ephemera)

  • Suriname collection (up to 1975)

  • Gastronomy
  • History of art and books, especially Amsterdam book production, Dutch and European book decoration, typographical highlights of the hand-press period and remarkable bindings

  • History of music, especially spiritual and secular song books, voice books, song sheets and books about music

  • Schoolbooks 

Important collections


Published by  Special Collections UvA

10 December 2014