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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

National Bibliography of the Netherlands: Online Resources


Due to its engaged history with publishing and scholarship, the Netherlands produces many - often related - online resources that are often produced by the national library, universities, or other national institutions. This page provides an overview of some of the major resources, which often link to other related ones. Many of these resources have an English-language version of their websites available, but the Google Chrome browser will also translate pages as well, if English is not already available. Due to a national trend toward accessibility, many of these resources offer substantial information open access. To read about the country's mission to have all research publications open access by 2020, read this roadmap.

Literature - the Koninklijke Bibliotheek

The Digital Gallery at the National Library of the Netherlands includes fully digitized works from the library collection, as well as transcriptions and contexts for these items. The works include illuminated manuscripts, atlases, children's literature, and poetry. The descriptions and transcriptions are in Dutch but can be easily translated to English through a web browser. The resources in this gallery also provide context for both historical and modern literary culture in the Netherlands. 

The KB also operates Bibliopolis, a collection of primary and secondary sources detailing the history of the printed book in the Netherlands. It offers comprehensive descriptions of production, distribution, and consumption of books from 1460-present. Users can search the collection for specific people's names, subjects, collections, and auctions. Bibliopolis also has a page titled "Searching for books printed in the Netherlands," which summarizes and links to external databases for further searching and offers best practices.

Dutch America - New Netherland Institute

The New Netherland Institute (NNI) supports the transcription, translation, and publication of Dutch colonial records held by American archives. NNI offers a variety of open publications, including digitized transcriptions and translations, bibliographies, and essays. The New Netherland Bibliography is a list of scholarly, nonfiction publications that are related to Dutch colonial legacy in America in disciplines such as history, archeology, anthropology, and genealogy. This bibliography is organized into categories of primary sources, books, articles, and dissertations. This bibliography is continuously updated - users can email a publication to the NNI to have its citation added to the list. The NNI also has a Tour of New Netherland, an online exhibit where users can explore early Dutch settlements in America. 

Genealogy - Database of Surnames in the Netherlands

The Database of Surnames in the Netherlands allows users to search for last names common to the Netherlands, with most recent data from the year 2007. Result pages include population maps with the saturation of that name per municipality. Each entry also includes etymology, references to/for that name, and variants. For further genealogical resources, users can navigate to the corresponding page on the CBG Centrum voor Familiegeschiedenis (Center for Family History) website which also searches for library holdings and other collections related to that search. 

History Journals

There are several peer-reviewed, open access journals (also available for search in Narcis) that publish about the history of the Low Countries:

TSEG/The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History: This journal was previously published at the Amsterdam University Press and is now published by the International Institute of Social History. The journal publishes four issues each year and is a merger/continuation of three previous journals (as early as 1914), which can be accessed through the TSEG website. 

BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review: This publication from the Royal Netherlands Historical Society has published since 1969 as a combination of two previous journals (one started in 1877 and one in 1946), which also had several predecessors. BMGN publishes about the history of the Low Countries within a larger global context, since the middle ages. The journal publishes four issues each year. 

Early Modern Low Countries: This journal was founded in 2017 as a continuation of two previous journals (started 1968 and 1985) and publishes biannually in a summer and winter issue. The journal covers multidisciplinary subjects relating to the history of the region from 1500-1830.

Higher Education - VSNU

VSNU is the association of 14 Universities in the Netherlands, which provides information and data about higher education in the country. VSNU offers a variety of publications, among which are its interactive factsheets. These interactive graphs and maps contain updated data about a variety of topics in Dutch education, including funding, workforce and labor statistics, and exchange programs. These factsheets, along with the other resources on the VSNU website, provide an overview of the mission of Dutch higher education, as well as specific data and statistics. The Netherlands is also a pioneer country for open access resources, and the VSNU has a publication detailing the country's mission to make all university research open access by 2020. 

Digital Humanities and Datasets

The National Library of the Netherlands compiles a list of open datasets that can be used for research. In addition to sources already listed in this guide - such as Delpher, Memory of the Netherlands, and Narcis - the KB offers datasets from Early Dutch Books Online, Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts, the Dutch Digital Parliamentary Papers, and Watermarks in Incunabula Printed in the Low Countries. Researchers can also contact the library to ask for data that has not yet been freely released. 

The KB Lab hosts these datasets, as well as a variety of tools, for open use. Many of the tools are compatible with the Delpher database and track various newspaper topics, keywords, and images. Other tools include a keyword generator that extracts significant words from supplied texts, and the KB Lab Bot, a Facebook messenger bot that provides users with images from the Memory of the Netherlands collection.