The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) is the national library of the Netherlands. It has in its care more than 1,200 manuscripts from the rough period AD 800–1550, over a quarter of which feature miniatures or historiated initials. This makes the KB the largest collection of illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages in the Netherlands. Most of them were produced in the Northern or Southern Netherlands. The KB’s most precious masterpieces are books of hours with work by anonymous painters such as the Master of Catherine of Cleves and the Masters of Zweder van Culemborg, as well as named miniaturists such as Lieven van Lathem.
The collection is still being expanded. In recent years, the main emphasis has been on collecting items that are of interest within the context of national culture or the general history of books.
The KB collection can be accessed through an online public catalogue. The miniatures from the illuminated manuscripts can be viewed on a separate website.
Ed van der Vlist, Curator of Medieval Manuscripts (March 2023)