Day-long Tour 17: Amsterdam

Libraries: Ets Haim, Rijksmuseum Research Library, Natura Artis Magistra

Type of Library: public, research, academic

Total Distance Return Trip: 150 km

Meeting Point: Ahoy Rotterdam

Price per Person: € 40

Ets Haim

Ets Haim is the oldest active Jewish library in the world, located in the outbuildings of the Portuguese Synagogue. During the tour, the first Sephardi Jews in Amsterdam are discussed, the educational system they developed and the role Ets Haim played in it. The history and creation of the collection of books and manuscripts is extensively discussed. Some masterpieces are also on display.

Rijksmuseum Research Library

The Rijksmuseum Research Library is the de facto National Art Library of the Netherlands. It holds approximately half a million books, periodicals and catalogues in the fields of art, applied arts and cultural history. The original core of the collection is the history of painting, prints, drawings, the applied arts and sculpture in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the start of the 20th century. Other key areas are the history of photography, iconography, collecting (catalogues of collections), Indian miniatures, Chinese painting and bronzes, Japanese prints, and sculpture from South/South-east Asia. The aim of the library is to build a scientific reference collection in support of the Rijksmuseum’s mission to connect people, art and history. The library does this within the department of the Research Services, by means of information and data.

Photos by Monique Kooijmans

Natura Artis Magistra

In 1838, the zoological society Natura Artis Magistra was founded by a number of Amsterdam notables, including bookseller and bird enthusiast Gerardus Frederik Westerman (1807-1890). Its aim was “to promote the knowledge of natural history”. To this end, not only was the famous Artis Zoo established, but a zoological museum and a library were also founded. The Artis Library houses collections on natural history, the Artis Zoo, modern nature study, land and travel descriptions, evolutionary theory (Darwiniana) and Carolus Linnaeus (Linnaeana).

Photo by Maarten van Haaff