KIT Belder

When the library of the Royal Tropical Institute was forced to close its doors for good last year, it seemed for a moment that its splendid collection would be horribly fragmented or even literally be  lost altogether (to huge old paper recycle bins!). Despite serious efforts from various sides, it was, unfortunately, not possible to keep the collection as a whole in the Netherlands. The majority of the KIT library — almost 400,000 books and 20,000 journals — will be reallocated at the Library of Alexandria. The Heritage Collection, however, will remain in the Netherlands! On 12 December 2013 a memorandum was signed to make this unique collection officially part of the Leiden University Library holdings.

1,5 km paper and almost 25.000 publications have been moved to the Witte Singel where they have immediately been catalogued. Soon there will also be two websites with digitized material from that collection, among other things, a large number of maps. The newly obtained material is relevant to both students and researchers with an interest in the history and cultures of the Dutch East Indies, in colonial agriculture, economy and administration. The impressive collection of prints and manuscripts on and from Southeast Asia, Indonesia in particular, enriches the UB Special Collection splendidly.