Exact Sciences


Electrostatic generator

This collection domain relates to the history of medical science, including pharmacy, the exact sciences (especially mathematics), trade and economics and computer history.

The basis for this collection domain was laid with the acquisition of extensive libraries, in particular those of the Koninklijke Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot bevordering der Geneeskunst (KNMG, Royal Dutch Medical Association, loaned in 1855), the Genootschap ter Bevordering van Natuur-, Genees- en Heelkunde (Association for the Advancement of Physics, Medicine and Surgery, donated in 1877), the Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie (KNMP, Royal Dutch Pharmacy Association, loaned in 1881) and the Koninklijk Wiskundig Genootschap (KWG, Royal Mathematical Society, loaned in 1880). The latter library contains works across the whole spectrum of the exact sciences. The Handels-Economische Bibliotheek (Library of Trade and Economics) forms the basis for the core area of economics.

The computer collection was begun in in 1991 and, as the Computer Museum, has formed part of the Special Collections since 2007.


The KWG collection shares common ground with the Cartography, Geography and Travel collection domain. There is also some overlap between these collections and the History of the University of Amsterdam collection domain.

Due to the scale and scope of all the specialist areas, this collection is ideally suited to the teaching of and research into the history of medical science and (applied) exact sciences. There is collaboration with the KNMG and the KWG.

The Computer Museum plays a vital role in understanding our digital past. The University of Amsterdam is a member of the Stichting Computer Erfgoed Nederland (SCEN, Dutch Computer Heritage Foundation). The museum at the Watergraafsmeer site is open to the public.

Collection profile

  • Publications in the field of medical science, including anatomical atlases, plague books and pharmacopoeias (up to 1900)
  • Publications in the field of mathematics and other exact sciences such as physics and astronomy (up to 1900)
  • Economics literature, including political economy, statistics and insurance (up to 1950)
  • Computers and applicable documentation

Important collections

Published by  Special Collections UvA

22 August 2014