The Academy Library - formerly part of the now defunct Library KNAW - contains the library collections of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences that were collected during the nineteenth century. The collection contains ca. 200,000 volumes and is accessible by the catalogue. The Academy Library is an important source for research in the history of science in the Netherlands and - because of many substantial and important gifts - a true treasure trove of rare and sometimes unique objects.
With the foundation of the Royal Institute of Sciences, Letters and Arts in Amsterdam by King Louis Napoleon in 1808, a library was established. From the very start the Library posessed a substantial collection, thanks to the donation of a collection of doubles from the National Library in Paris. Members of the Royal Institute donated parts of their own libraries. Substantial gifts were also received from outside the Royal Institute, notably from members of the Dutch Royal Family and the government. Since 1851, the library has been included in the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the successor of the Royal Institute.
The library encompasses all scientific disciplines. It includes the private library of Admiral Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen (1735-1819), manuscripts of poet and writer Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687) and scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) and the complete oeuvres of Dutch poets and writers Willem Bilderdijk (1756-1831) and Jacob van Lennep (1802-1868). The Academy Library contains over 700 early printings (1480-1600) and important series of periodicals from learned societies, travel and expedition accounts, manuscripts and pamphlets. A small part of the collection is given in permanent loan to other institutions in the Netherlands; however, the larger part of the collections is stored in the IISH-building in Amsterdam.