Rijksmuseum Boerhaave has a rich collection of books and additional literature.

Address (15 minutes walk from the Museum)
Library Rijksmuseum Boerhaave
Raamsteeg 2 (entrance is opposite No. 19, please ring the doorbell)
2311 PL Leiden

Open: Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 4:45pm. 

Closed: Weekends and holidays

Visiting the library

Archival material (manuscripts, letters and photographs) and pre-1900 books can be consulted in the reading room. Post-1900 books can be borrowed (please bring a valid ID).

If you have any queries about the collection please send us an email: collectie@rijksmuseumboerhaave.nl. Would you like to visit the library? Make an appointment by sending an email or give us a call at: + 31 - 71 - 7519 940.


The library of National Museum Boerhaave specialises in the history of mathematics, physics and medicine in the Netherlands. The library boasts rare early printed editions of ground-breaking scientific publications, but also works by and about eminent Dutch scientists and physicians, or works on instruments and their makers. The collection also includes periodicals and foreign works describing Dutch scientific developments. The library of National Museum Boerhaave contains books that are not to be found in any other institute in the Netherlands, and houses a unique collection of catalogues by scientific instrument makers and manufacturers. The oldest items in the collection are a herbarium dating to 1484 and a health manual dating to 1485.


The collection of visual materials contains paintings, icons, prints, drawings, photographs (ranging from glass negatives, X-rays, monochrome and colour prints to digital) and film. The visual materials add a scientific, documentary and illustrative dimension to the collection. The anatomical prints and drawings for example reflect how insights about the human body developed, and with it the progress in the medical profession and the instruments that were used.


The library also manages archives of prominent scientists and physicians in the Netherlands, including Willem Einthoven, Paul Ehrenfest, E.J. Dijksterhuis, Pieter Zeeman and Jacobus van ’t Hoff. In addition there are many smaller archival items relating to scientific instruments, as well as letters, lecture notes, notes and memorabilia.

Applying for photographs

You can apply for images by sending us an email. Please indicate clearly the purpose of your application and also include your contact details and a description or inventory number of the photographs.

Do you have questions about our collection objects, prints and photo's please mail: collectie@rijksmuseumboerhaave.nl 

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