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About the Special Collections

University Library Nijmegen is still a young library, established in 1923. However,  she can already proudly say that she is in possession of an extremely varied collection of manuscripts, books and other printed materials. Since 2009, the special and rare books of the University Library have been known as Special Collections, which means that a large variety of collections can be found under one name.

What can you find in the Special Collections?

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 to the University Library.

Given the religious nature of monastic orders, one might think that the university library collection only consists of biblical works, psalmbooks, sermon collections, catechisms and other catholic books. Nothing could be further from the truth, since the collections that were acquired were of a particularly diverse nature, that character has been preserved in our current Special Collections. A selection from the subject areas:
Ontleding des Menschelyke Lichaems-2

  • natural history
  • medicine
  • physics and mathematics
  • engineering
  • plays
  • freemasonry
  • language and literature
  • philosophy and theology
  • law

Discover the hidden treasures

The Special Collections consist of a wide range of genres and subjects; any discipline can consult it for information. From papyri to private press, the University Library ensures that it is available to researchers and students.


The collections are so rich, so varied and so interesting; undiscovered treasures are waiting to be explored!


Interested? Contact the curator.


Even if you are not a student or researcher, you can admire this special heritage, for example by taking a tour. For a tour, also contact the curator.


With the Special Collections, the University Library joins the Radboud University initiative Radboud Erfgoed (Radboud Heritage, Dutch only). There is also a collaboration with the Abdij van Berne  (Abbey of Berne). As a result, you will find the collection of the abbey library in RUQuest, the University literature database.