Skip to main content

Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk collection

Identifier: ubl168

Scope and Contents

Van der Tuuk’s collection consists of original and copied manuscripts on paper, palm leaf, tree bark and bamboo, scholarly notes, drawings, photographs, wayang (kulit) puppets, and publications. With the exception of the publications, of which he did not make an inventory, Brandes arranged in Batavia Van der Tuuk’s legacy in sub-collections according to languages and material type. Those sub-collections were registered in Leiden according to Brandes’ classification.

The core of the collection comprises in the first place manuscripts in the languages which Van der Tuuk studied on behalf of the Netherlands Bible Society and the Dutch government, namely the Batak languages (Toba, Mandaling, Dairi), Old Javanese (kawi), Javanese, Javanese-Balinese, Balinese, Lampung and evidently Malay with its regional particularities like Minangkabau. The collection reflects also Van der Tuuk’s studies of Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, and his extended philological and lexicographical researches not only on the above mentioned Indonesian languages but also on many other languages and dialects spoken in the archipelago, Austronesian languages from Madagascar, the Philippines and Formosa (Taiwan), languages from the Indian subcontinent, and Austro-Asiatic languages from the Southeast Asian mainland. Together with the manuscripts, transcriptions of oral literature, copies and excerpts of manuscripts by Van der Tuuk, the scholarly notes are an invaluable source for scholars alongside Van der Tuuk’s numerous publications. Apart from manuscripts, either original, transcribed or transliterated, the collection contains also Balinese narrative drawings, photographs of Balinese princely dwellings, temples, and of architectural decorations taken in the early 1870s. Seventeen of the forty-four photographs bear the stamp of H. Veen (Hendrik Veen, b. Haarlem 1823 – d. Haarlem 1905). The twenty-eight wayang puppets which were part of the legacy were transferred to the National Museum of Ethnography (’s Rijks Ethnographisch Museum, nowadays Museum Volkenkunde) in Leiden. Van der Tuuk’s notes are so extensive that it would be unfair to reduce them to mere philological studies. While living among the natives of Sumatra and Bali, Van der Tuuk observed, listened, inquired, participated, and his notes are therefore also a treasure trove for anthropologists and ethnologists.

Van der Tuuk’s legacy is so rich and varied that it is quite impossible to single out highlights in the different sub-collections. A few, howewer, documents deserve special mention:

- Or. 3388 (A, E, F, and partly in C): Hundreds of letters, most in Malay, many in Javanese, also a few in Arabic, Sundanese and Lampung. To judge from officially written remarks on many of the letters, these were acquired through one or more Dutch East Indian post-offices, where they were stored as undeliverable.Those so-called dead letters between individuals are of great linguistic and regional variety and provide unique information on daily life in de archipelago. Or. 3388 B (4, 16-17, 19) contains also four letters by the scholar and poet Raja Ali Haji (c. 1809-c. 1873) from Riau, author of the famous Tuhfat al-Nafis.

- Or. 3386 M: Notes by Van der Tuuk about his two expeditions to the Batak highlands (Angkola, Sipirok and Mandailing in 1852; Bakkara in 1853).

- Or. 3390: Collection of Balinese narrative drawings and gouaches commissioned by Van der Tuuk when he was working on his Old Javanese-Balinese-Dutch dictionary ( Kawi-Balineesch-Nederlandsch woordenboek ). Obviously, Van der Tuuk intended to use the drawings to illustrate his dictionary in the same spirit as he had done for his Batak-Dutch dictionary. The Balinese dictionary was eventually posthumously published in Batavia between 1897 and 1912, without illustrations.

- Or. 3394: Most part of the original coloured drawings of ethnological interest by H. von Rosenberg, C.A. Schröder and W. Hekking, chromolithographed in Amsterdam and published in Van der Tuuk’s Bataksch-Nederduitsch woordenboek (Amsterdam 1861).


  • Creation: 1800-1894
  • Creation: Bulk 1847-1890

Language of Materials

Miscellaneous Indonesian and other Austronesian languages, Dutch, English

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk was born on 23 February 1824 in Malacca (Melaka), then a Dutch possession. He was the eldest of four children of the Dutch (Frisian) lawyer and civil servant Sefridus van der Tuuk (born Mensingeweer 1776, died Surabaya 1853), and the Eurasian Louisa Neubronner (born Malacca c. 1795, died Surabaya 1845). As a consequence of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty signed in London on 17 March 1824, whereby Malacca came under British administration, the Van der Tuuk family moved to Surabaya in 1825 where Herman spent his childhood.

At the age of twelve, the young Herman was sent to Europe for his education, and entrusted to an uncle Van der Tuuk in Friesland. At the age of sixteen he was admitted to Groningen University, where he was supposed to read law according to his father’s wish. Van der Tuuk did read law, but never completed his study. Already fluent in Malay and Javanese, he followed his true vocation as a born linguist. In Groningen, and from either late 1845 or early 1846 in Leiden, he studied Oriental languages, to begin with Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian, and several European languages as well, even Basque. A rebellious personality gifted with a fabulous memory and a phenomenal aptitude at studying languages, Van der Tuuk was remembered by one of his fellow students in Groningen as a remarkable student who was able to memorize a dictionary within a few days. He was indeed a peculiar student, and he did not bother to pass exams. Within the traditional higher educational system he might have been considered a failure, but this did not prevent him to become a scholar with a peerless erudition who in 1861 was granted an honorary doctor’s degree by the University of Utrecht. Besides the mandatory Latin and Greek, Van der Tuuk learned ultimately several Indo European, many Indonesian and other Austronesian languages ranging from Malagasy to languages of Taiwan (Formosa) and the Philippines, not to forget several Austro-Asiatic languages from the Southeast Asian mainland. Even Chinese was no left untouched by Van der Tuuk’s tremendous appetite for linguistic knowledge.

The student Van der Tuuk had no intention to follow his father’s example and become a lawyer, and after having neglected his law studies in Groningen, he abandoned altogether them in Leiden. With the years passing he somehow had to make a living of his oriental linguistic knowledge, and he seized an opportunity offered by the Netherlands Bible Society . The society, ever since its foundation in 1814, considered it one of its tasks to make the Bible available in the vernaculars of the various ethnic groups of the Dutch colonies. In the 1840s the Indonesian languages were for the Westerners, besides Malay and Javanese, for the most part linguae incognitae. The Amsterdam-based society needed young scholars in those years who would study the languages of the Dayak in Borneo (Kalimantan), Makassarese and Buginese in southern Celebes (Sulawesi), and the Batak languages of the ethnic groups living in the highlands of northern Sumatra. Van der Tuuk was thought to be a highly suitable candidate to be the society’s representative in Sumatra, and was recommended by several of his professors. In spite of his abrasive personality and his well-known reputation as a freethinker, and his lack of enthusiasm for a mission in a remote region which still belonged for the most part to the terrae incognitae, Van der Tuuk was chosen by the Netherlands Bible Society. One should keep in mind that very few Westerners had travelled into the hart of northern Sumatra when Van der Tuuk was appointed by the Bible Society, and that the Batak homeland would be integrated in the Dutch colonial state between 1875 and 1906. The Board of the society had a very sound and liberal idea about the duties to be assigned to its representatives who were pioneers in the linguistic field. They were not appointed to do missionary work but to compose dictionaries and grammars, as well as other means for study of the languages, such as collecting and publishing texts, and eventually to translate the Bible, at least a selection of books of the Old Testament, and the Gospels.

Van der Tuuk was appointed on 8 December 1847, but did not leave the Netherlands before 1849. It seems all too logical that he was granted time to prepare his mission, learn the little information that the Bible Society had gathered on the several Batak ethnic groups in their remote mountainous country, on their languages, and on the future circumstances for their representative, and read the scarce publications on the subject. Van der Tuuk studied and transcribed the Batak manuscripts which were available in collections in Delft and in London. Thanks to his astonishing linguistic knowledge, and brilliant instinct, he managed to produce a preliminary Batak glossary, wrote three extensive accounts on the Malay, Javanese and Batak manuscripts he studied in London, of which one was published, and between times, he also published a commentary on a Malay text.

At the beginning of June 1849 Van der Tuuk set off to Batavia were he arrived three months later. Shortly after he had visited his family in Surabaya he became so seriously ill that he was not able travel to Sumatra before January 1851. His weakened state, both physically and mentally, did not prevent him, however, to study Sundanese in Bogor (Buitenzorg) where he spent several months to recover. Since it was impossible, logistically and for reasons of safety as well, that he would spend years in a region which was by no means controlled by the Dutch administration, Van der Tuuk had to settle on the outskirts of the Batak lowlands. Assigned to Sibolga, on the western coast of North Sumatra, he experienced soon that the place was not suitable for his studies, and moved therefore to Barus, situated further to the north along the same coast where the Batak language was not yet surpassed by Malay, and where Batak people from the highlands gathered for their trade. In the next six years the house he had built in Barus became a centre where Van der Tuuk would welcome, and even provide shelter, a very unorthodox if not reprehensible way of sharing one another’s life in a colonial society, to many native speakers of Batak. Since Toba Batak was the most widely spoken of the Batak languages, he focused his studies on this language for his dictionary and grammar. One can guess that Van der Tuuk did not neglect, however, the other Batak languages, in particular Anggola, Dairi and Mandailing. Surrounded by many local people, Van der Tuuk led nevertheless a very lonely and isolated life in Barus. In 1852 and 1853 he undertook two expeditions to the Batak highlands, and he was the first Westerner to reach Lake Toba in 1853. In a letter to his employers, and in one of his numerous note books, he made a vivid account of his encounters and discoveries. His journeys on foot were an extraordinary accomplishment for a lone European. After the trying second expedition, where he had to run twice for his life, and, if caught, would have been eaten, Van der Tuuk decided that it was not safe to renew the experience. After 1853 he continued to devote his life to his studies and meetings with native informants in Barus. In 1856, exhausted and ill, he was granted home leave, but eventually did not leave Barus before April 1857. In spite of his poor health, he walked all the way to Padang, a journey profitable for his study of the Mandailing Batak, embarked on a boat to Batavia, and from there returned to the Netherlands. Notwithstanding the adverse circumstances, and the deplorable material conditions, the nearly six years spent in northern Sumatra were extremely fruitful.

Van der Tuuk arrived in the Netherlands in October 1857 with an invaluable collection of manuscripts, transcriptions of oral stories, thousands of pages of notes, an amazing knowledge of the Batak societies, and also of the political and economic situation of the region. His linguistic achievement, his perseverance and his endurance were much praised, but unfortunately, his sound and progressive advices were unwelcome. They did not meet with the direct interest of the Bible Society, nor with the short-sighted Dutch colonial government, especially when he defended the native population against prejudices and what he considered hypocritical diffamation. Van der Tuuk settled in Amsterdam, where the Bible Society had its headquarters, and remained in the city until 1868. He produced a Toba Batak grammar, dictionary and reader, with a separate volume that included a number of folktales. He continued expanding his knowledge of Indonesian languages, and by doing so steadily developed his insight in the relationship between the Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) languages. In this regard, he also published an 'Outline of a grammar of the Malagasy language' as another proof of his insatiable interest in comparative language studies. Besides the publication of other articles on Malay language and literature, he felt compelled to meet his employers’ instructions by translating into Toba Batak, and publishing two books of the Old Testament and the Gospels.

As early as 1862, the board of the Bible Society had decided to send Van der Tuuk to Bali, but the latter was far from being ready for another assignment. Besides the many tasks he wanted to finish before embarking for the second time for the Indies, Van der Tuuk resumed his study of Javanese, well aware of the fact that this language was the key to Balinese. Finally he left the Netherlands in April 1868, and embarked in Marseilles after having made a detour via Rome and Florence. He would never see Europe again.

When he disembarked in Batavia in the summer of 1868, Van der Tuuk could not sail directly to his final destination. Due to epidemics and uprisings in Bali, his voyage was adjourned sine die. Not inclined to wait in Batavia for an unknown period of time among the European colonial society he loathed, Van der Tuuk accepted an assignment of the colonial government to study the language spoken in the Lampung districts in southern Sumatra. He was well prepared for this task, since during the final period of his stay in Amsterdam he had edited a facsimile publication of a number of Lampung manuscripts, with an introduction of the language. He stayed in southern Sumatra for well over a year, travelled all over the area on foot, faithful to the pioneering fieldwork he had experienced in northern Sumatra. The result of his investigations consisted of several published articles on the Lampung language as well as a draft dictionary, but unfortunately he never found the occasion to edit and make it ready for publication. Thanks to his legacy, his draft remains nonetheless available for researchers.

In April 1870 Van der Tuuk finally arrived in Singaraja, in northern Bali. In this still modest centre of the Dutch administration, he did not feel at ease and free to fulfill his mission according to his ways. He therefore moved quickly to the small village of Baratan, a few miles from Pabean-Buleleng, the harbour of Singaraja. He had a simple house built of bamboo and wood, and settled down in his new environment where, with the exception of a few obligatory trips to Java, he remained until a few days before his death. Van der Tuuk entirely submerged himself in native society in the same respectful manner as he had done in Sumatra. True to his convictions, he attacked the obdurate colonial system as well as missionary work during his years in Bali. His antireligious feelings became more strident, and finally he resigned his contract with the Bible Society in 1873 to enter the service of the Government. With the title of 'civil servant for the study of Indonesian languages' (ambtenaar voor de beoefening van Indische talen) he continued in Bali his work for the next twenty years.

In Bali, Van der Tuuk worked on a Old Javanese, Balinese and Dutch dictionary (Kawi-Balineesch-Nederlandsch woordenboek). It was an immense task and he never finished it. The first volume edited by J. Brandes went to press in Batavia (Jakarta) in 1893, but due to editorial problems, the author would never see its publication in 1897, three years after his death. Two more volumes followed in 1899, and in 1901. With Brandes’ death in 1905, the publication of the last volume, edited by D.A. Rinkes, was delayed until 1912. Van der Tuuk would have had all reasons to be proud of his incredible achievement, eventually published in four volumes totaling 3.622 pages, but without the illustrations he had in mind.

Although he was eager to avoid European colonial society, Van der Tuuk corresponded nonetheless with the scholarly world from his remote village in North Bali, and he published numerous articles in the press of the Indies and in specialized journals (for an exhaustive bibliography see: Groeneboer 2002).

Van der Tuuk recovered many times from serious illness during his life, but the last illness happened to be fatal to the 70-year-old and weakened man. On 17 August 1897 Van der Tuuk passed away in the Military hospital of Surabaya were he had been transported a few days earlier.


3000 oriental manuscripts (circa), scholarly notes, drawings, photographs, and c. 2000 printed volumes.

Abstract in Dutch

Collectie van Oosterse handschriften, grotendeels afkomstig van de Indonesische archipel, wetenschappelijke aantekeningen, tekeningen, foto’s en gedrukt materiaal bijeengebracht en aan de Leidse bibliotheek nagelaten door Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk (1824-1894). De omvangrijke collectie weerspiegelt het onderzoek en de uiteenlopende studies van een uitzonderlijk begaafde taalkundige en indoloog. Na zijn studie in Groningen en Leiden, maakte Van der Tuuk vanaf 1847 carrière in dienst van het Nederlands Bijbelgenootschap in de Sumatraanse Bataklanden en Lampung districten, in West-Java, Noord-Bali en in Amsterdam en vanaf 1873 in dienst van het Nederlands Koloniaal Bestuur in Noord-Bali. De geniale en excentrieke Van der Tuuk was de meest prominente expert op het gebied van Maleise en Indonesische talen in de negentiende eeuw. Hij was tevens een pionier op het gebied van Austronesische (Malayo-Polynesische) vergelijkende taalkunde.

Abstract in English

Collection of Oriental manuscripts, essentially from the Indonesian archipelago, drawings, photographs, scholarly notes, and printed books of Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk (1824-1894). The large collection reflects the research and extensive studies of an exceptionally gifted linguist and Indologist, who, after his study in Groningen and Leiden, made career in the service of the Netherlands Bible Society in the Sumatran Batak lands and Lampung districts, in West Java, Amsterdam and North Bali in the years 1847-1873, and subsequently as a civil linguistic servant in the Dutch colonial administration in North Bali until his death. Van der Tuuk was a genius in his field, known also for his eccentric personality and sharp tongue and pen. He is considered the most prominent linguist of Malay and Indonesian languages in the nineteenth century. Van der Tuuk was also a pioneer in Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) comparative linguistics.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

I. Printed books and offprints

The publications are catalogued in the online catalogue. Some of the publications from Van der Tuuk’s library and annotated by him can be found in Digital Special Collections (search: 'Annotatus Tuuk'). A folio notebook containing 452 printed catalogue entries, and another folio notebook with the handwritten titles which were sold to Brill can be found in the Archives of the Library (BA1, L 23).

II. Manuscripts, including letters and scholarly notes:

  1. Batak manuscripts: Voorhoeve (1977).
  2. Malay manuscripts: Juynboll (1899), Ronkel (1921), Iskandar (1999); Wieringa (2007).
  3. Minangkabau manuscripts: Ronkel (1921); Iskandar (1999); Wieringa (2007).
  4. Javanese, Balinese and Sasak manuscripts: Brandes (1901-1926); Pigeaud (vol. 2, 1968).
  5. Sundanese manuscripts: Juynboll (1899), Ekadjati (1988).
  6. Acehnese manuscripts: Voorhoeve and Iskandar (1994).
  7. Lampung manuscripts: Iskandar (1994); Wieringa (2007).
  8. Arabic manuscripts: Voorhoeve (1957, 1980).

III. Drawings

  1. First descriptions of the Balinese narrative drawings: Juynboll (1911).
  2. Detailed descriptions and reproductions of the Balinese narrative drawings can be found in Hinzler (1986-1987).

IV. Wayang puppets

  1. Descriptions of the wayang puppets transferred to the Museum of Ethnology can be found in the catalogue of the Museum: Juynboll (1912).

Custodial History

The manuscripts on paper, palm leaf, tree bark and bamboo, the Balinese drawings and wayang puppets, and photographs were collected during Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk’s stays in Sumatra, Java and Bali. The copies of manuscripts, the scholarly notes, and the publications cover his scholarly life in Europe and in Indonesia.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In his will dated 14 February 1885 Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk bequeathed his entire collection to the Leiden University Library. After Van der Tuuk’s death, the Batavia-based linguist, historian and archeologist J.L.A. Brandes (1857-1905) was immediately dispatched to Buleleng by the Department of Education, Religion and Industry to secure the legacy which 'was squattered in his house in great disorder'. Brandes recovered also the manuscripts Van der Tuuk had given on loan to the library of the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences (Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen) in Batavia. As soon as Leiden University Library accepted the legacy the Department of Colonies took care of the shipping and delivery between November 1895 and February 1897 of the forty-three crates.

The Librarian was so overhelmed by the large and rich collection that he wrote in his Year Report (1896): 'It seldom occurs that a library can rejoice in such a large accession of Indonesian manuscripts; the legacy of Van der Tuuk surpasses our expectations; it will be an inexhaustible source for those who apply themselves to the languages of our colonies. ('Zelden kan een Bibliotheek zich met zulk een groote aanwinst van Indische hss verheugen; het legaat Van der Tuuk overtreft onze verwachtingen en zal een onuitputtelijke bron zijn voor de beoefenaars der talen van onze koloniën')'. Van der Tuuks legacy was indeed the most important Oriental collection acquired by the Leiden Library in the nineteenth century. It was soon to be outnumbered by the collection Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936).

In 1982 the collection was enlarged with three more Balinese narrative drawings with annotations in the hand of H.N. van der Tuuk which had been spotted in London. They were found in a book bought at an auction by the late Prof. Th.P. Galestin.


No future additions are to be expected

Existence and Location of Copies

Parts of the collection have been microfilmed or digitized.

Related Materials

- Documents pertaining to Van der Tuuk’s legacy can be found in the Archives of the Library (BA1, L 23). This folder contains also a manuscript copy of Brandes’ catalogue of the Javanese, Balinese and Sasak manuscripts on paper and on palm leaf, a list of the Malay manuscripts, and a list of the Balinese names of the wayang puppets.

- Brandes’ manuscript catalogue of the Javanese, Balinese and Sasak manuscripts on paper and on palm leaf established in 1895 in Batavia have been registered under the classmark Or. 7216.

- Photocopies of the decrees pertaining to the execution of the legacy and the shipments to the Netherlands of crates containing the collection held in the Indonesian National Archives (Arsip Nasional) in Jakarta have been registered under the classmark Or. 18.166.

- Letters by or to Van der Tuuk can be found in the Bibliotheca Publica Latina (BPL) section of the Special Collections: see BPL 885, BPL 1756, and BPL 1886. These letters can be retrieved in the online catalogue of letters.

Separated Materials

- Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies / Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV), Leiden:

  1. Acte van benoeming van dr. H. Neubronner van der Tuuk tot ambtenaar voor de beoefening van Indische talen. 1873 (KITLV, D H 669a).
  2. Afschrift boedelbeschrijving nummer vijf. 20-8-1894 (KITLV, D H 669b).
  3. H.N. van der Tuuk, Kort verslag van de Maleische, Javaansche en Battasche handschriften over bijgeloovigheden (in de verschillende boekerijen te Londen aangetroffen en afgeschreven). 1845 (KITLV, H D 765).
  4. Correspondence in the Collection Rob Nieuwenhuys (KITLV, D H 984).

- Correspondence and documents in the archives of the Netherlands Bible Society (Nederlands Bijbelgenootschap), transferred to the Utrecht Archive (Utrechts Archief).

- Correspondence in the collection of the Multatuli Genootschap, Amsterdam, on loan to the Library of the University of Amsterdam, Special Collections.

- Batak tree bark and bamboo manuscripts in the collection of the Museum of the Tropics ( Tropenmuseum) in Amsterdam. Earlier provenance: Museum of Ethnography of Artis (Ethnographisch Museum Artis), Amsterdam.

- Wayang puppets in the Museum of Ethnology (Museum Volkenkunde) in Leiden.


  • Beekman, E.M., Fugitive dreams: an anthology of Dutch colonial literature, Amherst 1988, pp. 130-162.
  • Brakel-Papenhuyzen, Clara, Treasures of Indonesia’s cultural heritage: Van der Tuuk’s collection of Batak manuscripts in Leiden University Library, in: Sari 25 (2007), pp. 9-21.
  • Brandes, J., Beschrijving der Javaansche, Balineesche en Sasaksche handschriften aangetroffen in de nalatenschap van Dr. H.N. van der Tuuk en door hem vermaakt aan de Leidsche Universiteitsbibliotheek, 4 vol., Batavia 1901-1926.
  • Ekadjati, E., Naskah Sunda : inventarisasi dan pencatatan, Bandung, Tokyo 1988.
  • Groeneboer, Kees, Een vorst onder de taalgeleerden : Hermann Neubronner van der Tuuk, taalafgevaardigde van het Nederlands Bijbelgenootschap, 1847-1873: een bronnenpublicatie, Leiden 2002, passim.
  • Gronemeijer, C.F., Gedenkboek van het Nederlandsch Bijbelgenootschap 1814-1914, Amsterdam 1914, pp. 92-98.
  • Hinzler, H.I.R., Catalogue of Balinese manuscripts in the Library of the University of Leiden and other collections in the Netherlands. Part One : Reproductions of the Balinese drawings from the Van der Tuuk Collection, Leiden 1987 (Codices Manuscripti, 22).
  • Hinzler, H.I.R., Catalogue of Balinese manuscripts in the Library of the University of Leiden and other collections in the Netherlands. Part Two : Description of the Balinese drawings from the Van der Tuuk Collection, Leiden 1986 (Codices Manuscripti, 23).
  • Iskandar, T., Catalogue of Malay, Minangkabau, and South Sumatran manuscripts in the Netherlands, 2 vol., Leiden 1999.
  • Juynboll, H.H., Catalogus van de Maleische en Soendaneesche handschriften der Leidsche Universiteits-bibliotheek, Leiden 1899.
  • Juynboll, H.H., Supplement op den catalogus van de Javaansche en Madoereesche handschriften der Leidsche Universiteits-bibliotheek. Deel II. Nieuwjavaansche gedichten en Oud-, Middel- en Nieuwjavaansche prozageschriften, Leiden 1911.
  • Juynboll, H.H., Catalogus van ’s Rijks Ethnographisch Museum. Deel VII. Bali en Lombok, Leiden 1912, pp. 91-99.
  • Kern, H., Aan de nagedachtenis van H.N. van der Tuuk, in: De Nederlandsche Spectator (6 oktober 1894), pp. 319-320. (Ogenomen in: H. Kern, Verspreide geschriften, dl. 15, Den Haag 1928, pp. 281-285).
  • Koorders, D., Over den heer H.N. van der Tuuk en zijn jongste geschriften, Batavia 1865.
  • Nieuwenhuys, Rob, Oost-Indische spiegel: wat Nederlandse schrijvers en dichters over Indonesie hebben geschreven, vanaf de eerste jaren der Compagnie tot op heden, Amsterdam 1972, pp. 162-166.
  • Pigeaud, Theodore G.Th., Literature of Java: catalogue raisonné of Javanese manuscripts in the Library of the University of Leiden and other public collections in the Netherlands, vol. 2, 1968, pp. 112-244. (Codices Manuscripti, 10).
  • Pleyte, C.M., Kort verslag der door den heer v.d. Tuuk verzamelde Bataksche handschriften voor zoover die in de ethnographische verzameling van het Koninklijk Zoologisch Genootschap "Natura Artis Magistra" te Amsterdam aanwezig zijn, in: Nederlandsch Koloniaal Centraalblad 1 (1894) nº 7, pp. 85-87.
  • Ronkel, Ph.S. van, Supplement-catalogus der Maleische en Minangkabausche handschriften in de Leidsche Universiteits-bibliotheek, Leiden 1921.
  • Ronkel, Ph.S. van, De persoonlijkheid van Dr H. Neubronner van der Tuuk, Cultureel Indië, vol. 5 (1943), pp. 214-219.
  • Swellengrebel, J.L., In Leijdeckers voetspoor : anderhalve eeuw bijbelvertaling en taalkunde in de Indonesische talen : vol. 1 : 1820-1900, ’s-Gravenhage 1974, pp. 112-146. (Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 68).
  • Teeuw, A. Van der Tuuk as lixographer, in: Archipel 51 (1996), pp. 113-133.
  • Tuuk, Herman Neubronner van der (Rob Nieuwenhuys, red.), De pen in gal gedoopt: brieven en documenten, Amsterdam 1962. (Stoa-reeks).
  • Voorhoeve, P., Handlist of Arabic manuscripts in the library of the university of Leiden and other collections in the Netherlands, Leiden 1957 (Codices Manuscripti, 7).
  • Voorhoeve, P., Codices Batacici, Leiden 1977. (Codices Manuscripti, 19).
  • Voorhoeve, P., Handlist of Arabic manuscripts in the library of the university of Leiden and other collections in the Netherlands, The Hague 1980. (Codices Manuscripti, 7). 2nd enlarged ed.
  • Voorhoeve, P., in co-operation with T. Iskandar (M. Durie, transl., red.), Catalogue of Acehnese manuscripts in the Library of Leiden University and other collections outside Aceh, Leiden 1994. (Codices Manuscripti, 24).
  • Wieringa, E., Catalogue of Malay and Minangkabau manuscripts in the Library of Leiden University and other collections in the Netherlands. Vol. 2 : comprising the H.N. van der Tuuk bequest acquired by the Leiden University Library in 1896, Leiden 2007. (Codices Manuscripti, 40).


The manuscripts in this collection can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room. The printed books can be requested in the online catalogue.

Processing Information

The manuscripts on paper and bundles with scholarly notes, and also the printed books, have been provided with an ex-libris reading: 'Ex legato viri doctissimi H. Neubronner van der Tuuk 1894.'

After having been unpacked in the Leiden Library, the collection was registered in the Oriental catalogue (classmark Or. followed by a serial number) according to a systematic classification by main languages and material type made by J. Brandes in Batavia in 1894-1895. The sequences of the classmarks reflects Brandes’ classification. One should notice, however, that there are exceptions since many bundles contain transcriptions of manuscripts in more than one language and related scholarly notes, including linguistic comparative studies.

I. Manuscripts, drawings, photographs and wayang puppets (Or. 3195 - Or. 4717)

  1. Malay manuscripts, with a few Minangkabau, Arabic, Sundanese, Javanese and Madurese manuscripts on paper, and related scholarly notes: Or. 3195-Or. 3389, Or. 3391-Or. 3392.
  2. Photographs. The two sheaves containing 46 photographs taken in northern Bali were registered among the first series of manuscripts (see Or. 3329).
  3. Balinese narrative drawings: Or. 3390. The three drawings acquired in 1982 were registered under the classmark Or. 17.994.
  4. Drawings of Batak ethnological interest: Or. 3394 (formerly Or. 3386-E).
  5. Wayang puppets: Or. 3393 (transferred to the Museum of Ethnology, Leiden).
  6. Batak manuscripts on paper, including many collective volumes of Batak texts and fragments, and related scholarly notes: Or. 3394-Or. 3422.
  7. Batak manuscripts on tree bark (pustaha) and a few on bamboo: Or. 3423-Or. 3576. Or. 6900.
  8. Javanese, Balinese and Sasak manuscripts on palm leaf (lontar): Or. 3577-Or. 3851.
  9. Javanese, Balinese and Sasak manuscripts on paper, and related scholarly notes: Or. 3852-Or. 4717.

II. Publications

No inventory of Van der Tuuk’s complete collection of monographs, series and offprints was made in Batavia by Brandes or in the Leiden library after the chests had been unpacked. The precise amount of volumes is therefore unknown. The archives of the library shed nonetheless some light on the size of the collection.

As early as 1896, the publications had been taken care of, and for the bigger part catalogued. Many volumes were besides bound or rebound.

  1. A selection of an unknown number of publications was destroyed due to its deplorable and irreversible state of conservation.
  2. 452 titles were catalogued, and merged with the general catalogue of the Library.
  3. 358 titles were deselected and sold to Brill.
  4. According to their shelfmarks, it appears that more titles were catalogued later than 1896.
Collection guide of the Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk collection (1800-1894)
Collectie Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk
Dr Marie-Odette Scalliet, 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 12 October 2017: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

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