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Johan Catharinus Justus Bierens de Haan collection

Identifier: ubl103

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a rather random group of prints, mostly Dutch and of the seventeenth century, but also contains prints from later centuries or other European countries.


  • Creation: 1600-1900

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

J.C.J. Bierens de Haan was born in Leiden in 1867 as the son of the mathematician David Bierens de Haan. He studied medicine in Leiden and became a surgeon after he took his doctor’s degree there in 1896. As a physician he worked in South Africa during the Second Boer War, on the Balkan and, during the First World War, in Paris. While travelling the Middle East, he gained an interest in oriental artefacts, of which he gathered a large collection, mainly ceramics. Interested in art from a very early age, he also started to collect prints. At the time of his death he possessed some 26.000 prints. These he bequaethed to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. To this collection was added a large amount of money to create a fund (Stichting Lucas van Leyden), still in use today in Rotterdam for purchasing prints. Bierens de Haan died in Amsterdam in 1951.


540 prints (circa), most of them Dutch

Language of Materials


Abstract in Dutch

Verzameling grafiek van vooral Nederlandse kunstenaars, bijeengebracht door de chirurg J.C.J. Bierens de Haan (1867-1951).

Abstract in English

Collection of graphic art, primarily by Dutch artists, gathered by the surgeon J.C.J. Bierens de Haan (1867-1951).

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

Two lists of the donations by Bierens de Haan are kept in the Archives of the Print Room. They contain little more than the names of the printmakers. All works, in as far as they could be identified now, have been recorded in the Digitool database.

Custodial History

Not much is known about the way Bierens de Haan collected his prints. It is to be assumed that he purchased most of them at auction houses in Amsterdam and other cities in the Netherlands. Large quantities of prints were obtained at the auctions of the collection of Friedrich August II of Saxony in Leipzig between 1927 and 1943.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

J.C.J. Bierens de Haan donated selections from his print collection to Leiden University in January 1938 and May 1939.


No future additions are to be expected.

Separated Materials

Apart from the comparatively small donations made to Leiden University, Bierens de Haan bequeathed the majority of his collections to the city of Rotterdam, that deposited them in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.


  • W.R. Juynboll, Levensbericht Johan Catharinus Justus Bierens de Haan, in: Jaarboek van de Maatschappij van Nederlandse Letterkunde (1952-1953). Leiden, 1953.


The material of this collection can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

The prints and drawings have been integrated into the general collections of drawings and prints.

Collection guide of the Johan Catharinus Justus Bierens de Haan collection (1600-1900)
Collectie Johan Catharinus Justus Bierens de Haan
Jef Schaeps, 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
This finding aid has been written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

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