National Library of the Netherlands

Koninklijke Bibliotheek
(National Library of the Netherlands)

The KB as seen from the Prins Bernhardviaduct
Type National Library
Established 1798 (1798)
Location The Hague
Coordinates 52°4′50.37″N 4°19′36.35″E / 52.0806583°N 4.3267639°E / 52.0806583; 4.3267639Coordinates: 52°4′50.37″N 4°19′36.35″E / 52.0806583°N 4.3267639°E / 52.0806583; 4.3267639
Size 6 million items, over 110 km (68 miles) of books, newspapers, journals and microforms[1]
Access and use
Members 16,975
Other information
Budget 53 million
Director Lily Knibbeler
Staff 281

The National Library of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek or KB; Royal Library) is based in The Hague and was founded in 1798. The mission of the National Library of the Netherlands, as presented on the library's web site, is to provide "access to the knowledge and culture of the past and the present by providing high-quality services for research, study, and cultural experience".

King Louis Bonaparte gave the national library its name of the Royal Library in 1806. It has been known as the National Library of the Netherlands since 1982, when it opened new quarters.[2] The institution became independent of the state in 1996, although it is financed by the Department of Education, Culture and Science.

In 2004, the National Library of the Netherlands contained 3,300,000 items, equivalent to 67 kilometers of bookshelves. Most items (2,500,000 books or 48 km) in the collection are books. There are also pieces of "grey literature", where the author, publisher, or date may not be apparent but the document has cultural or intellectual significance.[2] The collection contains almost the entire literature of the Netherlands, from medieval manuscripts to modern scientific publications. For a publication to be accepted, it must be from a registered Dutch publisher.[2] The collection is accessible for members. Any person aged 16 years or older can become a member. One day passes are also available. Requests for material take approximately 30 minutes. The KB hosts several open access websites, including the "Memory of the Netherlands" (Geheugen van Nederland).[3]

See also


  1. "KB in a nutshell".
  2. 1 2 3 Murray, Stuart (2009). The Library: An Illustrated History. Chicago: Skyhorse Publishing.
  3. "Image database - Memory of the Netherlands - Online image database of archives, museums and libraries".

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