Cultural History of the Modern Period

Station Haarlem


This collection domain covers European cultural history from circa 1800 to the present day. In particular, Dutch literature and the history of food, pedagogy, music, drama and popular culture are amply represented. The collection domain expressly covers both high and low culture.

The basis for this collection domain was formed by the study collection for education and research at the University of Amsterdam. This was followed by rapid growth in the acquisition of significant loans and donations, including the collection of the Multatuli Genootschap (Multatuli Society), the collection of the Stichting Het Réveil-Archief (Réveil Archive Foundation), the Toonkunstbibliotheek (Library of the Music Society) the Gastronomische Bibliotheek (Gastronomic Library) and the collection of the Nederlands Schoolmuseum (Dutch School Museum). Regular additions are made to many of the collections in this collection domain. Some of them form a ‘living archive’, such as the archive of Arnon Grunberg.


The diversity of the collection domain attracts researchers and students from numerous disciplines. The collections in this domain are also popular with non-academic users. The modern literature collections, cookery books and children’s books, in particular, are frequently consulted. Various partnerships have been formed, such as with the Huygens Instituut in The Hague (Albert Verwey collection), the University of Groningen (diaries of Leo Polak), the Multatuli Huis in Amsterdam (Multatuli collection), and with various foundations and associations that have loaned works from their collections.

Collection profile

  • Dutch language and literature, particularly relating to Amsterdam

  • History of the city of Amsterdam
  • History of art and books, especially publications by Amsterdam printers and publishers, remarkable bindings and bibliophily

  • Performing arts, especially plays
  • History of music

  • Gastronomy

  • Philosophy

  • Children’s books

  • Schoolbooks 

  • Cartoons

Important collections


  • Diaries by Willem de Clercq. Hs. RA F I–XXXI and LXVIII A.
  • Manuscript of Multatuli’s Max Havelaar. Hs. XLV A 1.

Published by  Special Collections UvA

22 August 2014