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Archive of Smitskamp's 'Het Oosters Antiquarium'

Identifier: ubl131

Scope and Contents

The archive contains 1) General business correspondence, 1970-1992 2) Special files, photographs, letters from scholars 3) Sales catalogues, including annotated working copies of sales catalogues from 1878 to 2006 4) 90 filing drawers with c. 100,000 cards with catalogue records and bibliographical references, and 5) Correspondence with Prof.Dr. Anton Schall, of Heidelberg, and correspondence from Orientalists from all over the world to Rafael Guevara Bazan, Professor of Oriental languages at Lima, who in the 1950s initiated a biographical dictionary of Orientalists, which was never published.


  • 1878-2006
  • Bulk 1970-2006

Language of Materials

Multiple languages

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

"Het Oosters Antiquarium", the Leiden antiquarian bookshop based at Nieuwe Rijn 2, Leiden, traces its history to 1848, when Evert Jan Brill (1812-1871) took over the Leiden bookselling and publishing firm of Luchtmans, which had been in business since 1683. The owner of "Het Oosters Antiquarium" was Mr Rijk Smitskamp. Born at The Hague in 1941, he was educated as a Classics scholar and joined Brill’s antiquarian bookshop in 1970. With his knowledge of Greek and especially Latin he developed into an expert bibliographer of the book production of European Orientalism before 1800. His main publications in this field are the three-volume Philologia Orientalis (1976-1991) and The Scaliger collection (1993), intended as sales catalogues but generally regarded as outstanding works of bibliographical reference.

In 1992 Brill decided to concentrate on publishing activities, selling their antiquarian bookshop to Smitskamp. He continued the shop on the same premises and much along the same lines as under its previous ownership. The ancient building served as a meeting point for Orientalists and book lovers. Unable to find a successor, Smitskamp closed the shop in 2006, thus ending a three-century-old tradition of bookselling in the field of Oriental Studies.


50 meter (circa)


Zakelijk archief van Rijk Smitskamp (geboren Den Haag 1941), eigenaar van "Het Oosters Antiquarium", het voormalige antiquariaat Brill, Nieuwe Rijn 2 te Leiden. Het antiquariaat, gespecialiseerd in Oosterse handschriften en oude gedrukte boeken, sloot in 2006.


Business archive of Mr Rijk Smitskamp (born The Hague, 1941), owner of "Het Oosters Antiquarium", formerly Brill’s antiquarian bookshop at Nieuwe Rijn 2, Leiden. The bookshop, specialising in Oriental manuscripts and rare printed books, closed down in 2006.


The inventory is based on the information provided by Mr Smitskamp. It is a preliminary list which shall be expanded in due course.

Physical Location

Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Bijzondere Collecties

Other Finding Aids

A preliminary list provided by Mr Smitskamp is available.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

On 16 May 2007 Mr Rijk Smitskamp donated his entire business archive to Leiden University Library. The signed agreement is kept in the Library archives, No. E33/L5/72744.


The donation comprises the entire business archive of "Het Oosters Antiquarium".


No future additions are expected.

Related Materials

Leiden University Library has extensive holdings of printed books published by Brill and their predecessor, Luchtmans. Please check the online catalogue.

Separated Materials

The historical archives of the Leiden publisher Luchtmans and their successor Brill are preserved at the Library of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Special Collections Department, collection Bibliotheek van het Boekenvak.


  • Buskens, L. ‘Vanishing Orientalism in Leiden’, in: ISIM Review 18 (2006), p. 44-45.
  • Vrolijk, A., ‘Rijk Smitskamp schenkt archief van “Het Oosters Antiquarium” aan UB Leiden’, in: Omslag. Bulletin van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden en het Scaliger Instituut 2007 no. 3, p. 11.
  • Witkam, J.J., ‘De sluiting van Het Oosters Antiquarium van Rijk Smitskamp’, in: De boekenwereld 23 (2007), nr. 4, p. 207-214.


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

Processing Information

In 2007 the collection was temporarily stored. Preparations are being made for the final arrangement and shelving of the collection. The collection is registered as Cod. Or. 26.571-26.574.

Collection guide of the archive of Smitskamp's 'Het Oosters Antiquarium' (1878-2006)
Archief van Smitskamp's 'Het Oosters Antiquarium'
Arnoud Vrolijk, 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
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