Browsing special collections

The Special Collections in the University Library include a large collection of unique and rare books. The collection contains an extremely varied selection of manuscripts, books and other printed matter that cover a wide range of subjects. The collection can be accessed by students, staff and external individuals in various ways.

The collection

Over the years, the University Library has compiled a large collection of special books through purchases and gifts. Many private individuals have contributed to the collection, but monastery libraries also donated their books. The collection not only consists of biblical works, but is very diverse in nature. A selection from the subject areas:

  • Natural history
  • Medicine
  • Physics and mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Plays
  • Freemasonry
  • Language and literature
  • Philosophy and theology
  • Law

Browsing the collection

As a student or staff member, you can use your Radboud account to request works from the Special Collections in RUQuest. 

Request materials via RUQuest

If you do not work at university or you would like to browse a work that cannot be requested via RUQuest, complete the ‘Request Special Collections’ form. The University Library staff will contact about your request within two days.

Browsing collections online

Some of the Special Collections can be viewed online. 

Digital collections

Digitising collections

If you would like to have a work from the Special Collections digitised, please contact the University Library’s studiezaalerfgoed [at] (subject: Request%20Digitising%20Special%20Collections) (Heritage Collections Reading Room). Please make sure that your request contains the following information:

  • First name and surname
  • Title and signature of the work that needs to be digitised
  • Page numbers
  • Whether you would like to have the work digitised for publication or for your own use

You will receive a response within five days. Not all works can be digitised.


The University Library staff members can answer your questions.

Ask Your Librarian

Or drop in and see the staff at your faculty’s Library Information Point.