History of the University Library

The University Library on the Erasmuslaan is the campus's treasury. Its Special Collections and the Catholic Documentation Centre (KDC), founded in 1969, preserve numerous books, objects and archives; kilometres of interesting heritage, sometimes centuries old, sometimes relatively young.

There is no such thing as a university without books and journals. When the Nijmegen university was founded in 1923 (then called Catholic University), the University Library was located in the city centre. After World War II, it moved to Villa Stella Maris on the Van Schaeck Mathonsingel. The current building on Erasmuslaan was moved into in 1968.

Students in the reading room of the University Library at Villa Stella Maris on Van Schaeck Mathonsingel.
Studying in the University Library reading room (1946-1967) at Villa Stella Maris on Van Schaeck Mathonsingel

Browse through books

Radboud University's library has a rich and diverse collection of manuscripts, incunabula, old prints and special books from the more recent past. All these books cover a shelf length of about 5 kilometres. That corresponds to an imaginary one-hour walk, which takes one past 90 medieval manuscripts, 400 manuscripts produced after 1600, 38,000 books printed before 1801 - including 150 incunabula (printed before 1501) and 534 post-incunabula (printed between 1501 and 1540) - and specialised modern sub-collections. In addition, the collection includes 120,000 nineteenth-century prints (1801-1900). Together, all these books make up the Special Collections of Radboud University.

Since its foundation in 1923, Radboud University has built up a special book collection of stature. A selection of these have been placed in the Radboud Bookcase, arranged by theme. Visit the Radboud Bookcase and digitally browse through the treasures of the Special Collections!

Check out the Radboud Bookcase (in Dutch)


Exterior of the UB (since 1968) on the Erasmuslaan, with the Erasmus building in the background
Exterior of the UB (since 1968) on the Erasmuslaan, with the Erasmus building in the background