As the national library of Belgium, KBR is home to more than eight million works from antiquity to the present. Besides books, journals and periodicals, the holdings of the library comprise manuscripts, maps and plans, prints and drawings, as well as coins and medals. A substantial part of the collection is devoted to the art and culture of the historical Low Countries.
The Department of Prints and Drawings holds the largest collection of its kind in the country; its comprehensive collection of South Netherlandish prints is particularly esteemed and ranks among the finest in the world. Highlights in the drawing collection are sheets by major Northern artists such as Bruegel, Hoefnagel, Goltzius, Rubens, and Jordaens.
The Department of Coins and Medals has the most comprehensive collection of numismatic objects from the Southern Low Countries. Among the prized possessions of the Department are medals by Netherlandish sculptors including Jacques Jonghelinck.
The oldest and most prestigious nucleus of KBR is undoubtedly the Library of the Dukes of Burgundy. This is a world-class collection of medieval manuscripts with illuminations made by some of the finest artists of the day, including Rogier van der Weyden, Simon Marmion and Simon Bening. Since 2020, manuscripts from the Burgundian library have been on permanent display at the KBR museum. The selection of works changes twice a year, and each rotation offers new opportunities to explore and experience the Library of the Dukes in a compelling way.
Dr. Daan van Heesch, Head of Prints and Drawings (June 2022)