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Library of the Royal Academy Delft

Identifier: ubl246

Scope and Contents

The collection of Oriental manuscripts comprises essentially manuscripts and collective volumes, including many diplomatic documents, in Malay and Javanese, the main Indonesian-Malaysian languages taught at the Delft Royal Academy. Exceptions consist in some Javanese-Arabic, Malay-Arabic manuscripts, an Arabic manuscript and a Batak tree bark manuscript.

The ubl181 Archive and collection of Huibert Gerard baron Nahuys van Burgst (1782-1858) is part of this collection.


  • Creation: 1740-1860
  • Creation: Bulk 1800-1850


Language of Materials

Javanese, Malay, Dutch, and other 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

The Royal Academy for the education of civil engineers (burgelijke ingenieurs), and commercial trainees (kweekelingen voor den handel), was founded in Delft by Royal Decree of 8 January 1842. State Councillor A. Lipkens (1782-1847), engineer and cartographer, played an important role in the creation of the new institution, and was appointed its first director. Since civil engineers were also in demand in the Dutch East Indies, Lipkens and the minister of Colonies J.C. Baud (1789-1859) agreed to extend the Academy’s educational scope. At the time of the discussions, well-educated and trained administrators were also very much in need in the Dutch East Indies. Up to 1842, no institution provided a professional education for potential candidates. Baud was all too aware of the situation. Thanks to his long administrative career in the Dutch East Indies, crowned with his appointment as governor general (1833-1836), and his strategic position at the Ministry, Baud, fluent in Malay, had a thorough knowledge of the Indonesian archipelago and its varied cultures, its customary law, and colonial administration. As statesman and advisor to King William II (r. 1840-1849), he was a key figure. He used therefore his influence to see to the realisation of a special section for aspirant civil servants in the Dutch East Indies at the Academy. Taco Roorda (1801-1874), who had become an eminent Javanologist, occupied at that time the chair of Oriental languages at the Atheneum Illustre in Amsterdam since 1828. He strongly supported Baud’s views and plans, advised him, and was rewarded with a professorship in languages, history, geography and cultural anthropology (taal-, land- en volkenkunde) of the Indonesian archipelago by Royal Decree of 18 June 1842. Roorda was assisted by A. Meursinge (1812-1850) and J. Pijnappel Gz. (1822-1901), and by S. Keyzer (1823-1868) after Meursinge’s demise.

The Academy, housed in the monumental building situated Oude Delft 95, opened its doors to students on 4 January 1843.

Twenty years later, the Academy’s fate was sealed due to an Act passed in 1863, imposing new regulations on the education of engineers. The consequence was that a Royal Decree was issued on 20 June 1864, stipulating that the Delft Royal Academy was to be disbanded in order to make way for a new Polytechnic School (Polytechnische School), precursor to the Delft University of Technology. At the same time the decision was taken to create a State Institution in Leiden to provide for the education of civil servants in the Dutch East Indies (Rijksinstelling van onderwijs in Indische taal-, land- en volkenkunde). This decision justified the transfer of the library of the Delft Royal Academy, section Dutch Colonies. Professors Roorda and Pijnappel exchanged their former positions at the Delft Academy for a post at the new Leiden institution. It was disbanded ten years later, but the cause was by no means lost.

After decades of pros and cons, hesitations and discussions since the creation in 1836 of the first Malay chair in the Netherlands at the Royal Military Academy (Koninklijke Militaire Academie) in Breda, Malay, Javanese and Indonesian-Malaysian studies in general gained their academic respectability. They were incorporated in a high-level educational programme at Leiden University. Professor Roorda hasn’t been able to witness the opening of the academic year in 1874. Taken ill at home the previous year, he died on 5 May 1874.


350 Oriental manuscripts and collectives volumes (circa), 22 bundles of archival materials, an unknown number of printed books.

Abstract in Dutch

De bibliotheek van de Koninklijke Akademie Delft, afdeling Nederlandse Koloniën, werd overgebracht naar de Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden na de opheffing van de Akademie in 1864. Naast gedrukte werken omvat de collectie hoofdzakelijk handschriften en diplomatische documenten in het Maleis en Javaans verzameld ter ondersteuning van de opleiding van bestuursamtbenaren voor de dienst in Nederlands-Indië en voor hun docenten. Het archief en collectie H.G. baron Nahuys van Burgst (1782-1858) behoort eveneens tot deze collectie.

Abstract in English

The library of the Delft Royal Academy, section Dutch Colonies, was transferred to Leiden University Library after the closure of the Academy in 1864. Besides printed materials, the collection contains manuscripts and diplomatic documents predominantly in Malay and Javanese, brought together as educational tools for the aspirant civil servants for the Dutch East Indies and their teachers. The archive and collection H.G. baron Nahuys van Burgst (1782-1858) is also part of this collection.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

All Oriental manuscripts and documents have the shelfmark Or. (for ‘Codex Orientalis’, Oriental manuscript) followed by a number.

The Oriental manuscripts have been catalogued in the Leiden University Library by several scholars according to their linguistic expertise and field of research.

In the oldest catalogues of Malay and Javanese manuscripts (1892, 1897, 1999, 1907) the manuscripts were listed and described according to their subjects and genre.

In the recent catalogues (1968, 1977, 1980, 1998,1999), the manuscripts were respectively listed and described within a section dedicated to their common provenance (e.g. Delft collection).

  1. Javanese (Or. 1786-Or. 1901): Vreede 1992, passim; Pigeaud 1968, pp. 25-49.
  2. Javanese (Or. 8933-Or. 8934): Pigeaud 1968, pp. 501-502.
  3. Malay and Minangkabau (Or. 1689-Or. 1782): Juynboll 1899, passim; Ronkel 1921, passim; Wieringa 1998, pp. 29-147; Iskandar 1999, pp. 6-42.
  4. Batak (Or. 1883): Voorhoeve 1977, p. 230.
  5. Arabic: Voorhoeve 1980, p. 569.

A number of manuscripts can also be found in the catalogue.

Custodial History

The Oriental manuscripts were predominantly collected in Java, Madura and Sumatra for educational purposes. They were collected in the first place at the instigation of Prof. Taco Roorda with the full support of Minister Baud and his successor who gave instructions accordingly to the colonial government in Batavia (Jakarta). It is impossible to retrace their individual or collective route before they were shipped to the Netherlands. It is, however, known that some manuscripts were copied at the General Secretary in Batavia on behalf of the Delft Academy. Some documents were also directly acquired by the Academy from civil servants on home leave or individual persons residing in the Netherlands.

Printed materials published in Batavia were also shipped to Delft. Books printed in Europe were acquired through the usual channels, from bookshops, at auctions and from individual persons.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

After the closure of the Delft Royal Academy in June 1864, the manuscripts, archives and printed materials related to the Dutch colonies held in the Academy’s library were transferred to Leiden University Library. The Oriental manuscripts were incorporated in the Oriental collections.

The printed materials were merged with the general collection of printed works.

In addition to the collections presented to Leiden Library in 1864, three Javanese manuscripts originally belonging to the Delft Royal Academy were transferred from the library of the Delft University of Technology to the Leiden Library on 25th February 1959 (Or. 8932-Or. 8935).


No future additions are to be expected.

Related Materials

The Delft Royal Academy Collection is part of the larger Indonesian and Malaysian Special Collections preserved at the Leiden University Library.


  • Biografisch portaal (Baud, Jean Chrétien)
  • Biografisch portaal (Keyzer, Salomo)
  • Biografisch portaal (Meursinge, Albert)
  • Biografisch portaal (Pijnappel, Jan)
  • Biografisch portaal (Roorda, Taco)
  • Fasseur, C. De Indologen: ambtenaren voor de Oost (1825-1950), Amsterdam 1994, pp. 91-119.
  • Iskandar, Teuku, Catalogue of Malay, Minangkabau, and South Sumatran manuscripts in the Netherlands, Vol. I, Leiden 1999.
  • Juynboll, H.H., Catalogus van de Maleische en Sundaneesche handschriften der Leidsche Universiteits-Bibliotheek, Leiden 1899.
  • Vijftigjarig jubileum van de Koninklijke Academie en Polytechnische School te Delft, 4 Januari 1893, Den Haag 1892 [De ingenieur ; 1892, no. 53, buitengewoon bijvoegsel].
  • Juynboll, H.H., Supplement op den catalogus van de Javaansche en Madoereesche handschriften der Leidsche Universiteits-Bibliotheek, Leiden 1907.
  • Pigeaud, 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 : Descriptive lists of Javanese manuscripts, Leiden 1968 [Codices manuscripti ; 10] p. 8, pp. 25-49.
  • Pijnappel, J. Gz., De Koninklijke Akademie te Delft : inrigting tot opleiding van Indische ambtenaren, Amsterdam 1859.
  • Pijnappel, J., De Maleische handschriften der Leidsche bibliotheek, Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde van Nederlandsch Indië, 18 (1870), pp. 142-178.
  • Ronkel, P.H., Supplement-catalogus der Maleische en Minangkabausche handschriften in de Leidsche Universiteits-Bibliotheek, Leiden 1921.
  • Voorhoeve, P., Handlist of Arabic manuscripts in the library of the university of Leiden and other collections in the Netherlands, (2nd enlarged ed.), The Hague 1980. [Codices Manuscripti ; 7], p. 569.
  • Voorhoeve, P., Codices Batacici, Leiden 1977. [Codices Manuscripti ; 19], p. 230.
  • Vreede, A.C., Catalogus van de Javaansche en Madoereesche handschriften der Leidsche Universiteits-Bibliotheek, Leiden 1892.
  • Wap, [J.J.F.], Naar tijdorde opgestelde lijst van den inhoud der twee-en-twintig portefeuilles te samen uitmakende het Oost-Indisch archief, nagelaten door [etc.], als geschenk van zijn echtgenoot [etc.], krachtens zijner Majesteits Besluit van den 12den april 1859, No 84 Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde van Nederlandsch Indië. Nwe volgr. 7 (1863) pp. 181-191.
  • Wieringa, E., Catalogue of Malay and Minangkabau manuscripts in the Library of Leiden University and other collections in the Netherlands. Volume 1 : comprising the library of Leiden university and other collections in the Netherlands, Leiden 1998. [Codices Manuscripti ; 25], pp. 31-147.


The material can be requested via the online catalogue (tab Special Collections; request uncatalogued materials) and consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

The collection of Oriental manuscripts and collective volumes was registered in the Oriental catalogue (classmark Or. followed by a serial number) according to a systematic classification by main languages and material type.

The printed books were merged with the general collection of printed works. Most of them recognisable by the stamp of the Delft Royal Academy (i.e., Koninklijke Akademie Delft) on the front page of each publication.

Collection guide of the library of the Royal Academy Delft (1740-1860)
Bibliotheek van de Koninklijke Academie Delft
Marie-Odette Scalliet, 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 25 February 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