Cultural History of the Middle Ages

Getijdenboek in het Latijn. Gent, ca. 1475. [Hs. XXV C 26]

The Lieven van Lathem Book of Hours

This collection domain covers European cultural history from circa 500 to circa 1500, and includes the University Library’s oldest holdings. Following the Alteration in 1578, Amsterdam’s convents and monasteries were abolished and the municipal authorities confiscated their libraries. These formed the basis for the new Stadsbibliotheek (City Library), which later led to the foundation of the University Library.

The Stadsbibliotheek had a number of manuscripts and printed works dating back to the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, what was originally a small collection was expanded with approximately 200 other medieval manuscripts and approximately 500 fifteenth-century printed works: prototypography and incunables. The collection of the church historian Willem Moll (1812–1879) includes various manuscripts and texts from the Devotio Moderna circle.


Due to the varied content, the collections are important to many different researchers. Research often focuses on the material form of medieval manuscripts. Regular users include researchers, lecturers and students of historical literature, palaeography, codicology and book studies.

Collection profile

  • Medieval manuscripts
  • Incunables
  • History of writing and writing materials
  • Devotio Moderna

Important collections


  • Gaius Iulius Caesar, De bello Gallico. Fleury, Benedictine Abbey of Saint Benoît-sur-Loire, first half of the 9th century. Hs. XV G 1.
  • Book of Hours in Latin. Ghent, c. 1475. Hs. XXV C 26 (Lieven van Lathem Book of Hours).
  • Aristoteles, Ethica. Rome 1517. Hs. XV D 6 (Arrighi manuscript).

Published by  Special Collections UvA

22 August 2014