The Special Collections of Utrecht University Library contain extensive holdings of manuscripts, books printed before 1901, maps and rare and precious works of a later date.
For information about the collection, in writing, in print or in digital form, please visit our website Special Collections
Visitors to the library can find information (also about requesting copies) below:
Special Collections Reading Rooms, Map Room and Reference Library
Address and opening hours
University Library Uithof (6th floor)
3584 CS Utrecht
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact and requests for copies
Telephone number desk Special Collections: (030) 253 6633
For general information about manuscripts, books printed before 1901, maps and rare and precious works of a later date, consultation and requests for copies, please click on: contact
Purchase suggestion: for books or journals
If you have a Utrecht University library card, please state the card number in your e-mail.
Reading Room regulations
- You must have a library card or a reading room card. Both cards can be obtained at the Service Desk on the first floor. When registering you must show proof of identity and address. For more information, please click on: Borrowing in our A-Z list.
- On arrival in the Reading Room please report to the desk. During your visit your library card or reading room card will be kept by the reading room staff. On leaving, the card will be returned to you.
- Please put coats, bags, food and drink in the lockers outside the reading room.
- Silence in the Reading Room. Mobile phones should be switched off. Group work is only permitted in the study group room. Please see Study facilities on this page.
- In order to prevent accidental damage to items in the special collections, pens and ink are not allowed in both rooms. Only pencils and laptops may be used for taking notes.
- In order to protect the books you must make use of the foam book-rests. Please do not change the order of loose-leaf material.
- The material you are consulting should not be left unattended. If you wish to leave the reading room for a longer period of time, you must hand in the material at the desk.
- In the Map Room the filing cabinets with broadsheet maps and the cabinets containing folded maps may only be opened by library staff. After you have finished, please put the cartographic material on the head of the table. Please do not return the material to the shelves yourself.
- Library staff ensures the careful use of materials. CCTV is used in both rooms.
- In all other cases, follow the instructions of the library staff.
In the Special Collections reading room, you can consult manuscripts, printed material published before 1901 and special material published after 1901. Most manuscripts should be requested at the desk of the reading room or by sending an email. Nearly all other books and journals can be requested via our online catalogue.
Books that are not yet included in the online catalogue should be requested at the desk of Special Collections or by sending an email.
In the reading room, catalogues, inventories and documentation systems are available with indexes to parts of the Special Collections that are not yet included in our online catalogue.
How long will it take?
The delivery times below are from Monday to Friday. During academic holidays longer delivery times may apply.
The following delivery times apply for special material from the depositories:
- requested before 9 a.m.: available at 11 a.m.
- requested before 11 a.m.: available at 1 p.m.
- requested before 1 p.m.: available at 3 p.m.
- requested before 3 p.m.: available at 4 p.m.
Tip: please request manuscripts and early printed books that are not yet included in the online catalogue by sending an e-mail. If requested in time, preferably two days in advance, the manuscripts or books will be ready on arrival.
Printed books which have been requested will be kept ready for you for a period of ten days. It is possible to extend this period in consultation with library staff.
Not all manuscripts and printed works or maps can be freely consulted. Special permission of a curator is needed for consulting material that is very vulnerable or valuable. Sometimes special material is on deposit elsewhere or under restoration. Some manuscripts can only be consulted on microfiche.
Part of the collection is digitised. Please have a look on Digitized manuscripts, printed works, and maps
In the Map Room you will find cartographic material published from 1900 onwards: atlases, reproductions, globes, broadsheet maps, folded maps, digital maps and CD-ROMs. Most atlases and reproductions are in an open access area. If you are looking for other material published after 1900, such as folded and broadsheet maps, please ask library staff. They can hand you the maps for consultation.
Moreover, the computers in the Map Room give access to a rapidly growing collection of digital and digitised maps.
After consulting the library staff, you are allowed to make copies of maps, manuscripts and early printed or rare books by means of a digital camera. You may take photographs using the corner of the Special Collections desk, unless the curator decides otherwise. The use of flash is forbidden.
The images are for personal use only. If you want to photograph manuscripts you will have to fill in an application form. To protect the fragile material you are not allowed to take more than 25 photographs from one book.
Library staff will determine whether the physical condition of the material allows the taking of photographs. When in doubt, the curator decides. You always need the curator's permission to take photographs of manuscripts.
You can bring your own camera or use the digital camera available at the desk. In the latter case you can save the photographs on your own memory stick or buy one at the Service Desk.
An A3 scanner is also available in the Map Room. Depending on the condition of the material (published after 1900), you may scan it yourself. The files must be saved on a USB stick. You will find a manual next to the scanner.
Libray staff will supervise the correct handling of the material (for instance, books may not be pressed down for better pictures and maps must not be removed from their protective cover).
Digital recordings for publication (either in print or on the internet) and more than 25 scans from one book may be made by library staff only.
Requests for copies can be made at the desk (or afterwards by sending an e-mail). The reproductions, together with the bill, will be sent to your home address. To check the rates, see our pricelist.
Every seat in the reading room has a network connection for laptops. You may use the computers (4) in the reading room as well. In the Map Room you may use two computers out of three. The third one operates the scanner. It is possible to study special material in groups in a group study room; we advise you to reserve this room in advance by sending an e-mail.
Near the desk of the Special Collections Reading Room, next to the Map Room, you can find the Special Collections referency library. Here you can find handbooks, reference works and journals on manuscripts, on early printed books and on maps. divided into subject classes. Where applicable, a geographical and/or chronological subdivision has been made within these classes. You will find this material on open shelves, but most of it is not for loan.
Curators and information specialist
Curator manuscripts, incunables and other rare books
Dr. B. Jaski
working days Mon-Fri
University Library Uithof, Heidelberglaan 3, room 6.45
T +31 30 253 6521
Curator maps and early printed books (rare books excluded)
Dr. M. van Egmond
working days Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri.
University Library Uithof, Heidelberglaan 3, room 6. 28
T +31 30 253 5156
Special Collections information specialist
Drs. W. Boumans
working days Mon-Fri. (Mon-Thu.: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Fri: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
University Library Uithof, Heidelberglaan 3, room 6.27
T +31 30 253 4401
Special Collections External Relations Coordinator
Drs. W. Karreman
working days Tue-Fri.
University Library Uithof, Heidelberglaan 3, room 6.44
T +31 30 253 6557