The steadily growing archives collection contains at this moment nearly 600 archives of Dutch composers, performing musicians and musical institutions. Included are more than 45.000 music manuscripts mainly of Dutch composers, more than 200.000 letters, thousands of photographs, personal documents (diplomas, testimonials, diaries etc.) and audio and video materials.

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The collection contains at present more than 150.000 titles, registered in the online catalogue. Most of these refer to sheet music and literature published before 1900, the so-called historical collection. Furthermore the library contains a collection of musicological literature, performing editions and microfiches which may be consulted in the reading room. A part of the collection is lendable.

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The documentation collection consists of a large number of historical concert programmes, cuttings, magazine articles, folders and flyers documenting musical life in the Netherlands.

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Web presentations

From the archives: Monthly feature

In this section, each month one item from the music archives will be presented. A selection will be made of a diversity of objects – music manuscripts, letters, utensils, photographs, etc. – which show glimpses of the connections between musicians and events in Dutch and international musical life.

Schumanns Myrthen: een bijzonder handschrift in het NMISchumann's Myrthen: an unknown manuscript

Among the manuscripts in the collections of the Nederlands Muziek Instituut are several handwritten documents by Robert and Clara Schumann. One of them contains six songs from the Myrthen cycle op. 25 (1840) by Robert Schumann (1810-1856). It is part of a manuscript which has served as engraver's copy for the first edition, published in August 1840 by Friedrich Kistner in Leipzig. This manuscript has at some time been split up; its parts are now in Paris, Zwickau, an unknown private collection, and in the NMI in The Hague. The pages in the NMI have long been thought lost. A comparison with the other portions has now proved it to be the missing source.


Speelmuziek: de collectie VlamSpeelmuziek: de collectie Vlam 

In 2006 ontving het NMI via een schenking een unieke verzameling Nederlandse speelmansboeken  uit de 18e en 19e eeuw, de collectie Vlam, zo genoemd naar de verzamelaar  van de boeken, de wiskundige en musicoloog dr. Christiaan C. Vlam (1916-1999). Het zijn handschriften waarin violisten, fluitisten en andere speellieden het repertoire noteerden waarmee zij hun brood verdienden. Deze manuscripten vormen de belangrijkste bron van onze kennis van de populaire muziek van die tijd.


landré-beatrijs'Beatrijs' as opera: Three works in the archives
of the Nederlands Muziek Instituut

The Medieval Dutch poem about the nun Beatrijs (Beatrix) has inspired many poets and composers. In the NMI archives three operas based on this legend may be found: Soeur Béatrice, by Willem Landré (1911); Beatrijs, by the same composer (1925); and Beatrijs, by Ignace Lilien (1928). A lecture about these operas by musicologist and NMI staff member Lodewijk Muns is here published as web presentation (Dutch only).


liszt_schuberth&coLiszt manuscripts: A bicentenary presentation

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), the NMI presents a selection of manuscripts in its Franz Liszt Collection. A choice was made of two letters and two music manuscripts. The letters show Liszt at very different stages of his life and in very different capacities. The music manuscripts, two of the Petrarch Sonnets in their second version for voice and piano, are interesting as evidence of the process of rethinking and recomposing that was a characteristic aspect of Liszt’s rich artistic life.



maria_taglioni_kriehuberMarie Taglioni (1804-1884): A life on toe tip

An unexpected little treasure among the NMI archives is a collection of objects which have belonged to the famous ballet dancer Marie Taglioni (1804-1884). Taglioni is one of the most important figures in dance history; as Sylphide she has created the archetype of the romantic ballerina. The objects in this collection have inspired musicologist Lodewijk Muns to a search for their connections and meaning within Taglioni's career.


museum-s2The Scheurleer Museum of the History of Music

The private museum of banker and music historian Daniël François Scheurleer (1855-1927) constitutes the historic core of the Netherlands Music Institute. Scheurleer created his museum in the first decades of the 20th Century. After his death the collection was threatened with dispersion as a consequence of the economic crisis. In 1933 the Municipality of The Hague acquired the collection. This article provides a virtual tour through Scheurleer’s lost museum.


Johann Gottfried WaltherJohann Gottfried Walther: The Frankenberger Manuscript (ca. 1730)

The so-called Frankenberger Manuscript is one of the most precious items in the collection of the Netherlands Music Institute. It contains 196 organ chorale settings from the period 1650-1730, compiled and copied by the composer and organist Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748).





Franz LisztFranz Liszt: Correspondence with Marie Espérance von Schwartz

The NMI has 47 letters by Liszt in its keeping. A special part of this collection are four unpublished letters to Baroness Marie Espérance von Schwartz (1818-1899). Better known under her pen name Elpis Melena, she had some fame as a writer, philanthropist, and as a political activist.

This presentation contains images of these four letters together with transcriptions, translations and extensive commentary.




Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus - handschrift “Galimathias MusicumWolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Galimathias Musicum K32

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed Galimathias Musicum in March 1766, shortly after his tenth birthday, on the occasion of the inauguration of Prince William V as stadholder of the United Provinces.





Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921)

Alphons Diepenbrock: Music Manuscripts

This collection contains autographs of all the compositions of Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921). Also included is a selection of photographs, correspondence and a few audio fragments. The music of Diepenbrock is one of the highlights in Dutch music history.


Databases and e-journals

This page will be revised shortly.

The Digital Library of the KB offers online access to a large number of national and international databases, electronic journals and catalogues, of which many in the field of music.

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