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Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis collection

Identifier: ubl068

Scope and Contents

The collection of Bodel Nijenhuis is divided into:

  • Collection of atlases
  • Collection of maps
  • Collection of manuscript maps, among which most of the manuscript charts in the Collection of the Dutch East India Company
  • Collection of topographical prints and drawings
  • Collection of portraits. The portraits of Leiden professors are part of the larger 'Collectie Portretten van Hoogleraren'.
A third part of the maps, atlases and topographical prints concerns Dutch territory. About 3.000 maps are manuscripts. Half of the topographical prints and drawings concern the Netherlands. About 1500 are drawings. There are 1700 portraits of Leiden professors and directors, 13.000 portraits of Dutch nobility, clergymen, artists, scientists and other renowned people, and about 800 portraits of members of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde.

The COLLBN signature is also used for later acquisitions, including the Vossius and Van Keulen map collections.


  • Creation: 1500-1871
  • Creation: Bulk 1600-1871

Language of Materials

Dutch, Latin, English, French, German and other European languages

Conditions Governing Use

Most maps, atlases, prints and drawings can be viewed without any restrictions in the Reading Room of the Special Collections Research Center. Some very vulnerable manuscript maps require the permission of the curator.

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis was born in Amsterdam in 1797 but moved to Leiden after the death of his mother in 1799, where he was raised by his grandfather Johannes Luchtmans, owner of the renowned publishing house Luchtmans. Bodel Nijenhuis studied law at Leiden University and published his thesis in 1819 on the history of law regarding publishing and book trading (published in Latin but translated and published in Dutch in 1892). He became the co-owner of Luchtmans publishing firm and bookstore in 1821 but decided in 1848 to dissolve the firm, leaving the publishing house to E.J. Brill, and concentrate himself on his collecting activities. Bodel Nijenhuis played an important role in the cultural life in Leiden in the mid-nineteenth century. He was a member of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde and, from 1839 onwards, its secretary. He also published some bibliographic studies such as a catalogue of the library of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde and a catalogue of topographical publications.


300 atlases, 50.000 maps, 22.000 topographical prints and drawings, 15.500 portraits

Abstract in Dutch

Collectie van kartografisch materiaal (atlassen, kaarten), topografische prenten en tekeningen en portretten die door J.T. Bodel Nijenhuis (1797-1872) werden gelegateerd aan de Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden en, voor een deel van de portretten, aan de Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde.

Abstract in English

Collection of cartographic material (atlases, maps), topographical prints and drawings and portraits bequeathed by J.T. Bodel Nijenhuis (1797-1872) to Leiden University Library, and for a part of the portraits to the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde.


The collection of Bodel Nijenhuis is divided into:

  1. Collection of atlases
  2. Collection of maps
  3. Collection of manuscript maps, among which most of the manuscript charts in the Collection of the Dutch East India Company
  4. Collection of topographical prints and drawings
  5. Collection of portraits. The portraits of Leiden professors are part of the larger 'Collectie Portretten van Hoogleraren'.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Part of the collections of prints and drawings are still stored in Bodel Nijenhuis' own cabinets.

Physical Location

Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Bijzondere Collecties

Other Finding Aids

The atlases are described in the online catalogue of the University Library. Ca. 15.000 maps, especially maps of the Netherlands, Belgium and the Dutch colonies, are also accessible through a separate digital catalogue but the majority is available only through card catalogues in the Special Collections Reading Room. About 700 maps, expecially manuscript maps, are digitised and accessible on Digital Collections. Almost 200 digitised manuscript maps of the Dutch East- and West-India companies are accessible on the Atlas of Mutual Heritage. The topographical prints and drawings of the Netherlands are digitised and are accessible on the website of the Memory of the Netherlands. The foreigh maps and topographical prints and drawings as well as the portrait prints can also be accessed through card catalogues there. The portrait drawings are incorporated in DISC.

Custodial History

Bodel Nijenhuis purchased most of his atlases, maps, prints and drawings at public auctions. Some however he received as gifts or in exchange with other collectors. An important basis for his collection was the acquisition of the collection of W.R.E. baron van Heeckeren van Waliƫn (1759-1833) in 1834, a collection of 107 covers with maps, historical prints and portraits. Other acquisitions by Bodel Nijenhuis are:

1824: J. Meerman (1753-1815; book collector)

c. 1825: A. Vorsterman van Oyen (1767-1825; traveler to Russia)

1826: P. van Musschenbroek (1764-1823; archivist from Utrecht)

1837: A.C. van Citters (1774-1837; collector from Zeeland)

1838: C.J.C. Reuvens (1793-1835; professor of archaeology)

1840: C.R.T. Kraijenhoff (1758-1840; military engineer, cartographer)

1841: J. Blanken Jansz. (1755-1838; hydrographic engineer)

1850: E. de Burlett (1802-1849; collector of drawings, including drawings from the collection of H. Busserus (1701-1781)

1852: J. Schouten (1786-1852; collector and shipbuilder from Dordrecht)

1852: A. Hanegraaff (1769-1852; surveyor of Rijnland)

1858: G.F. baron Von Derfelden van Hinderstein (1783-1857; cartographer)

1863: C.G. Boonzajer (1788-1863; collector of antiquities)

J.C. Wendel copied many prints on behalf of Bodel Nijenhuis. Other works were copied by his second wife Cornelia Brillenburg and other relatives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

J.T. Bodel Nijenhuis bequeathed parts of his collection by will to Leiden University Library. This will, drawn up in 1866, stipulated that the atlases, maps and topographical prints and drawings were to be donated to the University Library, together with his collection of portraits of Leiden professors and directors. The portraits of the members of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde were bequeathed to that institution and given as a loan to the University Library in 1876. The remainder of Bodel Nijenhuis's collection and his library was sold off in 8 successive auctions in 1873-1874. An annotated auction catalogue is kept in the University Library of Amsterdam (OTM: KVB NV 2301). The last auction, in November 1874 offered a collection of portraits of famous Dutchmen. Shortly before the auction it was withdrawn from the sale and purchased in its entirety by the Dutch state, and donated to the Leiden Print Room, since 2002 part of the University Library. The parts that were sold by auction consisted of books, historical prints and portraits of foreigners. The historical prints were purchased by Frederik Muller and are now kept in the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam.


J.T. Bodel Nijenhuis was one of the most avid collector's of his time in Holland. His cartographical collections are of international importance, not in the least because of the large number of manuscript maps, while his portraits form the nucleus of one of the largest portrait collections in the country.


Regularly, maps and atlases are acquired for the collection. The emphasis lays on town plans of Leiden, maps made by Leiden cartographers and/or published in Leiden, manuscript maps, fortification plans and maps that have relations with maps in the collections of Leiden University Library.

Related Materials

Larger collections of atlases and maps can be found in the Universities Library of Amsterdam (UvA) and Utrecht (UU) and in the National Archives in The Hague. Other important collections of 19th century private collections are the Atlas van Stolk (Rotterdam) and Atlas van Gijn (Dordrecht). See ubl683 for the collection guide of the Portrait collection of the Print Room.

Separated Materials

The portraits of Leiden University professors and directors are on loan to the University Historical Museum since 1972. The history prints from the collection of Bodel Nijenhuis were auctioned and now in the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam.


  • Bodel Nijenhuis, J.T., Topographische lijst der plaatsbeschrijvingen van het Koningrijk der Nederlanden. 2 vols. Amsterdam 1862-1868.
  • Ekkart, R.E.O., De verzameling portretprenten van Bodel Nijenhuis. In: Het Leidse Prentenkabinet, De geschiedenis van de verzamelingen (Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 9). Baarn 1994, p. 311-322.
  • Heuvel, Ch. van den, Open kaart: Getuigenissen van het conservatorschap van de Collectie Bodel Nijenhuis van Dirk de Vries. In: Caert-Thresoor 22 (2003), p. 65-70.
  • Masurel, G.J., 'Door die zucht geleid, waarvan u 't harte brandt', Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis (1797-1872). In: De Boekenwereld 8 (1991), p. 70-74
  • Muller, F., De Nederlandsche geschiedenis in platen : beredeneerde beschrijving van Nederlandsche historieplaten, zinneprenten en historische kaarten. 4 vols. Amsterdam 1863-1882
  • Rieu, W.N. du, Levensbericht J.T. Bodel Nijenhuis, In: Levensberichten der afgestorvene medeleden van de Maatschappij der Nederlandsche Letterkunde te Leiden. Bijlage tot de Handelingen van 1873. Leiden 1873, p. 247-288.
  • Storms, M. (red.), De verzamelingen van Bodel Nijenhuis. Kaarten, portretten en boeken van een pionier in de historische cartografie. Leiden 2008.
  • Vries, D. de, Museum Geographicum Bodellianum 1872-1972. In: Open 5 (1973), p. 235-239.
  • Vries, D. de, An unrivalled collection of maps and charts at Leiden University Library. In: The Map Collector 47 (1989), p. 2-7.
  • Vries, D. de (ed.), Kaarten met geschiedenis 1550-1800. Een selectie van oude getekende kaarten van Nederland uit de Collectie Bodel Nijenhuis. Utrecht 1989.
  • Vries, D. de, Kaarten en kaartwerken van Letterkunde. In: Nieuw Letterkundig Magazijn 13 (1995), p. 33-34.
  • Vries, D. de, Uit de kaartenwinkel van de VOC. Catalogus van zeekaarten van de Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie in de Collectie Bodel Nijenhuis. Alphen aan den Rijn 1996.
  • Vries, D. de De Collectie Bodel Nijenhuis ten nutte der wetenschap: voordracht bij het afscheid als conservator. In: Caert-Thresoor 22 (2003), p. 71-75.


The material can be requested via the online catalogue. It can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Collection guide of the Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis collection (1500-1871)
Collectie Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis
J. Schaeps ; M. Storms, 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 15 October 2015: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857