Netherlands - Libraries and museums





The Netherlands has rich library collections and has broad use of those materials. In 1997 there were 579 main public libraries with a combined collection of 41.5 million books.

The largest public library is the Royal Library at The Hague, which has about 2.7 million volumes and 7,000 manuscripts. Outstanding libraries are found in the universities: Amsterdam, with over 2.6 million volumes; Leiden, 2.7 million volumes; Utrecht, two million volumes; Groningen, 2.7 million volumes; and Erasmus of Rotterdam, 800,000 volumes. The technical universities at Delft, Wageningen, and Tilburg also have excellent collections. Libraries of importance are found in some provincial capitals, such as Hertogenbosch, Leeuwarden, Middelburg, and Maastricht. Also noteworthy are the International Institute of Social History at Amsterdam, which houses important collections of historical letters and documents, such as the Marx-Engels Archives; and the Institute of the Netherlands Economic-Historical Archive, which has its library in Amsterdam and its collection of old trade archives at the Hague.

Among Amsterdam's many museums, particularly outstanding are the Rijksmuseum (1800), the Stedelijk Museum (1895) with special collections of modern art, the Van Gogh Museum (1979), the Museum of the Royal Tropical Institute (1910) and the Jewish Historical Museum (1932). Among Amsterdam's newest museums are the Huis Marseille (1999), which has historic and modern photography exhibits, the hands-on New Metropolis Interactive Science and Technology Museum (1997), and the Tattso Museum (1996). The Boymans–Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam has older paintings as well as modern works and a fine collection of minor arts. The Hague's Mauritshuis and the Frans Hals Museum at Haarlem have world-renowned collections of old masters. Other collections of national interest are in the Central Museum in Utrecht, the National Museum of Natural History in Leiden, Teyler's Museum in Haarlem, and the Folklore Museum in Arnhem. In the past, the most important art museums were found mainly in the large population centers of western Holland, but there are now museums of interest in such provincial capitals as Groningen, Leeuwarden, Arnhem, and Maastricht. The government stimulates the spread of artistic culture by providing art objects on loan and by granting subsidies to a number of privately owned museums. There are dozens of museums dedicated to the work of individual Dutch artists.

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