Dutch Library & London Resources

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Dutch Library

This unique collection, housed in a separate section of the UCL Library, is the main library resource for students of Dutch. The holdings consist of some 12,000 volumes on the language, literature, history and culture of the Low Countries, supplemented by a large collection of periodicals. Most of the books are directly accessible on open shelves. The range of topics and periods covered is extensive and provides plenty of scope for independent study. 

General & Subject-Specific Resources
Databases & Bibliographical Indexes

Of the many electronic databases and bibliographical indexes held by the library, the following are of particular interest for Dutch:

LiteRom: book reviews on literature in Dutch, published in Dutch and Flemish journals from 1900 to the present Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal: a descriptive, historical, scholarly dictionary of the Dutch language which covers the period 1500-1976

Please note: most of these resources as well as most electronic journals subscribed by the library can only be accessed from within the UCL network or require an Athens username and password.

  • MLA International Bibliography: indexes literature, languages and linguistics materials from 1981
  • Arts and Humanities Citation Index: coverage from 1981 onwards (Athens password required)
  • IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences): indexes the contents of journals, book collections etc., from 1951 onwards.
  • DBNL the Digitale Bibliotheek Nederlandse Letteren (Digital Library of Dutch Studies) with plenty of digitised primary sources.
Other Libraries

Just around the corner from UCL, the extensive collections of the following libraries are available to UCL students:

London Resources

London is the premier centre in the English-speaking world for research in Low Countries history and culture, including the Golden Ages of Flanders and Holland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its resources for research in this field are truly extraordinary, ranging from manuscripts to paintings, pamphlets to engravings.

The British Library

With some 17,500 seventeenth-century Dutch imprints, the British Library hosts the biggest Dutch and Flemish collections outside the Low Countries.

Its collection of early modern materials rival those in the national libraries of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Early modern poetry, drama, theology, and politics are very well represented, as are the natural sciences and the superb history of printing in the Low Countries.

Senate House Library

Housed at the University of London the library includes over 700 titles published by the renowned Elzevier publishing house in the seventeenth century.

This collection compliments the holdings of the British Library to provide nearly a complete set of Elseviers in London.

Senate House Library also owns a substantial Belgian collection.

Library of the Institute for Historical Research

Part of the University of London Research Library Services), this library specialises in research aids, such as inventories and catalogues, and in modern printed editions of primary sources.

A complete set of the Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën is among the riches available for perusal on open shelves in the Library's Low Countries Room.

The Institute Library is also the only one in the UK with full sets of various genealogical and antiquarian periodicals from the Low Countries.

UCL Main Library

Boasting the largest Low Countries studies collection in a UK university library, its importance is acknowledged by the continuing financial support of the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union).

The collection consists of approximately 13,800 books of primary and secondary materials and some 100 periodicals. 

The National Archives

Located in Kew, the archives contain a vast quantity of materials relating to the history of the Low Countries generally and to relations between Britain and the Low Countries specifically.

Most of these materials are contained in two collections: 

The latter includes some 6000 boxes of `Prize Papers' seized from Dutch ships in the 17th and 18th centuries. Only recently inventoried, these papers, still largely unexplored, include a mass of 17th and 18th-century letters written by Dutch merchants and sailors to their families and vice-versa.

Local and Church Archives

As a magnet over the centuries for refugees and immigrants from the Low Countries, a variety of local and church archives (e.g. that of Austin Friars, the Dutch Reformed Church in London) contain records with demographic, family, and other data about the many thousands of Netherlanders who have lived in England.

The following hold major collections of Dutch and Flemish art, including top pieces by the great masters:

A wealth of Dutch and Flemish material, including 82 drawings by Rembrandt himself are included in the following collection:

It is also worth noting that London museums and galleries host frequent exhibitions devoted to a particular corpus of Dutch and Flemish art, for example:

Last but not least there is the UCL Art Museum which has a collection of Rembrandt prints and other Dutch and Flemish objects.

Institute for Historical Research

Part of the University of London's School of Advanced Study, the institute hosts a seminar series which takes place around 10 times a year and sees UK, Dutch, Belgian and other and international scholars present the findings of recent research. scholars and postgraduate students from universities across southern England attend.

Warburg Institute

Also part of the University of London's School of Advanced Study, the Warburg Institute enjoys world fame as a centre for the study of Renaissance culture in all its aspects, visual as well as textual.

As one of the key foci of Renaissance culture, the Low Countries are central to the Institute's library holdings, its photographic collection (a vast assemblage of photographs and photocopies useful for research in iconology), and to the research agendas of its staff, which includes experts in Rubens and in Dutch still life paintings.