Watercolours and books by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), special impressions of a first menagerie of Amsterdam (around 1700) and letters by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) to Hugo de Vries (1848-1935). These are a few examples of the many precious treasures that are included in the collection of this library location and that the Allard Pierson, part of the UvA Library, has been managing, opening up and presenting for years.
History of natural history
The former book collection of the Amsterdam society Natura Artis Magistra, better known as ARTIS, founded in 1838, forms the heart of the Allard Pierson natural history collection, which comprises more than 100,000 items from the 16th to the 20th century. The library contains old and rare printed works, manuscripts, watercolours, drawings and prints covering the entire history of natural history. The library collection was transferred to the University of Amsterdam in 1939 but remained housed in the building that was opened for this purpose in 1868 at Plantage Middenlaan 45 in Amsterdam.
The Allard Pierson archives, manages and shares the heritage collections of the University of Amsterdam with the public and the scientific community. Now that the Artis Library has been renovated, the natural history collection once again has a splendid platform. Besides education and research, activities such as presentations, lectures and discussion evenings will take place there. This is not only in line with the core objectives of the Allard Pierson and the University of Amsterdam, but also with the scientific ambitions of the founders of ARTIS.
From 27 June 2022, the doors of the Artis Library will open again to anyone wishing to consult the natural history collection of the Allard Pierson by appointment. To make an appointment, please send an email to Hans Mulder or Myriam van der Hoek. The public activities will be announced on the Allard Pierson website.