Special collections

Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet
Two students exploring the bookshelves of the Leeskabinet, books in hand

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Double page spread depicting a world map divided over two globes, one on each page, framed by decorative illustrations
Double page from Johannes Blaeu's 'Grooten Atlas' (1664).

The Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet special collections comprise rare books, first editions, bibliophile editions and autographed and inscribed copies. Many of these have been donated or bequeathed by private individuals.

Our collection includes the complete nine-volume Atlas Maior (1664) by Johannes Blaeu, a hand-coloured copy of one of the most ambitious books published in the seventeenth century. Another well preserved gem is the five-volume Nederlandsche vogelen (1770-1829) by Cornelis Nozeman and Christiaan Sepp, with impressive full-page color illustrations of birds that were native to the Netherlands.

The special collections also include a number of private libraries, such as those of the Rotterdam Van Rijckevorsel family, which helped to rebuild the new Leeskabinet after 1940, and of the Dutch light verse poet Heinz Polzer/Drs. P. Other collections acquired through past donations concern books about Rotterdam, a donation from 1940 from the notary L.C.J.C. van Ravesteyn and antique travel books, mostly related to the Dutch East Indies, donated by N.P. van den Berg. Another notable collection is the almost complete collection of the Rotterdam publisher Meindert Boogaerdt Jr., comprising hundreds of books on a wide variety of subjects, spanning the period 1904 -1912.

Since 2022, a special collection of Surinamese poetry is housed at the Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet. It contains beautifully designed poetry volumes, for the most part in Sranantongo, which were curated by director of Het Taalmuseum Fresco Sam-Sin. Every year the Leeskabinet and Het Taalmuseum jointly organize an event to cherish and celebrate Surinamese poetry and languages.

All books from the special collections are in the catalogue. They are not in circulation, but you can request to consult a publication via our question form.

More information about the Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet special collections can be found in the literature overview.

Van Rijckevorsel Library

A black and white photo of the classical interiour and the many bookshelves in the reading hall of the Leeskabinet on the Parklaan

Surinamese poetry collection

A colorful collection of poetry bundles

Library Drs. P

Drs. P

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