KITLV’s Indonesian and Caribbean collection transferred to Leiden University

30 June 2014

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has transferred management of the extensive Indonesian and Caribbean collections held by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) to Leiden University Library. The transfer will become effective on 1 July 2014.

The agreements concerning the transfer were signed today by the Royal Academy, Leiden University and the KITLV Society, which holds legal title to the collection. The KITLV will continue as an Academy research institute and will cooperate closely with Leiden University.

The transfer to Leiden University guarantees excellent management and access facilities for the KITLV’s collection, which is of immense scientific and scholarly value. The collection consists of approximately one million books (most of them post-colonial) and special collections that include 150,000 digitised historical photographs as well as maps, prints and unique archives from Indonesia, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.

Having acquired the Royal Tropical Institute’s heritage and map collections in 2013 and with its own library holding special collections, Leiden University will now have a globally unique collection focusing on Indonesia and the Caribbean. Merging the extensive digitised sources of the three libraries will open up enormous opportunities for researchers and instructors worldwide and make it possible to apply new e-humanities techniques, thereby allowing researchers to pose new research questions. Approximately half of the KITLV’s collections staff will transfer to Leiden University Library.

Leiden University will also take over the KITLV’s Jakarta branch on 1 July. The branch amasses paper and digital information on modern Indonesia and makes it available. The Jakarta branch will move to the grounds of the Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta this summer.

The KITLV will continue as an Academy research institute and take part in the Academy’s innovation programme for its humanities institutes. In Leiden, the institute will help build Leiden University’s reputation as a focal point for research and instruction on Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. By attracting talented PhD candidates, the Academy and Leiden University will together invest in reinforcing the KITLV research group.