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Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica Collection

J.R. Ritman Library


The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica contains manuscripts and printed books on subjects such as Hermetic philosophy, alchemy, mysticism, Rosicrucians, and Kabbalah. They show the influence of the Hermetic tradition in Europe; many of the books have beautiful symbolic engravings. The collection also highlights the Netherlands’ special role in protecting freedom of thought, with works by authors including Spinoza, Coornhert, Koerbagh, and Comenius.

The collection consists of about 7,800 manuscripts and books printed before 1800, some 2,200 of which have been digitized. More than 800 of these books were printed in Dutch or in the Netherlands, and 100 of them cannot be found in any other Dutch institution. Other remarkable items include the 25 medieval Northern Netherlandish Books of Hours. All the books can be found on the website of the museum where the books are preserved – the Embassy of the Free Mind. In 2022, the library was granted special “Memory of the World” status by UNESCO.

José Bouman, Curator (April 2023)

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