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Bruno Hugo Stricker archive

Identifier: ubl657

Scope and Contents

The collection contains personal documents, correspondence, scientific notes and wordlists, annotated author's copies and photographs.


  • Creation: 1905-2006
  • Creation: Bulk 1930-1999


Language of Materials

Multiple languages amongst which Egyptian

Conditions Governing Access

There is an embargo on A 6 a-d.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Bruno Hugo Stricker was an Egyptologist and historian of the religions of Antiquity. He was born in Rotterdam on 23 August 1910 and was educated at the Gymnasium Erasmianum, Rotterdam, where he also learned Hebrew. He subsequently studied at the universities of Leiden, Oxford, Berlin and Paris, where he met the foremost Egyptologists of his day. In 1932 he obtained a first in Egyptology from Leiden University. He spent part of the following years until shortly before the outbreak of World War II in Cairo, where he engaged in linguistic research rather than fieldwork. In 1945 he obtained a doctorate from Leiden University under the supervision of Adriaan de Buck (1892-1959) with his dissertation De indeeling der Egyptische taalgeschiedenis ('The Classification of the History of the Egyptian Language'). Though written in Dutch, this work nevertheless attracted the attention of the international scholarly community. In the 1950s his research interests gradually shifted from linguistics to the comparative study of religions. In the meantime, he had deepened his academic knowledge of other languages, including Sanskrit, Old Persian, Arabic and Berber, with the purpose of filling the gaps in the cultural history of Egypt by the study of contiguous areas and contemporary cultures.

In 1939 Stricker obtained a position at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, soon afterwards becoming Curator of its Egyptological department. He was for all practical purposes an armchair scholar, with a marked reluctance against fieldwork and teaching. This, if nothing else, would have prevented Leiden University from offering him the Chair of Egyptology after the death of his master De Buck in 1959. He subsequently declined an offer from the University of Amsterdam, fearing that it would jeopardise the completion of what he had come to regard as his magnum opus, De geboorte van Horus ('he Birth of Horus'). The first volume of this work appeared in 1963. It would seem that the post of curator at the museum offered him more opportunities for writing and research than the university. He retired in 1975 and the last three decades of his life were devoted to finishing this work, the fifth and last volume of which came off the press in 1989. In 1994 he finished another voluminous work, De praehelleense ascese ('he Pre-Hellenistic Ascesis'). He evidently chose to emulate this particular ascetic tradition of Antiquity in his own personal lifestyle, dying a bachelor on 18 September 2005.

Stricker was a productive and multifarious author. He wrote 24 monographs, all characterised by their numerous references to almost exclusively primary sources of almost all cultures of the Near East and the Hellenistic world. In 1960 he published a groundbreaking text edition and French translation of the Berber epic L'Océan des pleurs (Bahr al-dumu'). Some of his publications are regarded as highly controversial, for instance the five-volume De geboorte van Horus already mentioned above. He bore the costs of many of his works himself. In his last published work, Zijn en Worden I ('To Be and to Become, I') his thinking enters a profoundly metaphysical dimension. He never finished the second volume.

As a matter of principle, he wrote almost all of his publications in Dutch, and some admirers actually undertook efforts to learn the language or have his works translated into English or Dutch, but without tangible results.

From 1963 onwards Stricker was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. In 1995, on the occasion of his 85th birthday, he was offered a Festschrift, Hermes Aegyptiacus (DuQuesnes 1995). Five years later an article was written in his honour, Der Sonnenaufgang als Geburt eines Babys (Renggli 2000). In 2007 the late Professor Joris Frans Borghouts (1939-2018) published an obituary (Borghouts 2007). In 1999 Stricker wrote a brief autobiography, Herinneringen (Memoirs) at the request of his nephew and heir B.H.C. Stricker (Stricker 2018).


3.5 metres (circa)

Abstract in Dutch

Bruno Hugo Stricker studeerde egyptologie bij Adriaan de Buck in Leiden en bij de toonaangevende egyptologen in Berlijn, Oxford en Parijs. Zijn proefschrift De indeeling der Egyptische taalgeschiedenis verdedigde hij in 1945. In de loop van zijn onderzoek breidde hij zijn studie uit naar die van alle omliggende talen en culturen. Zijn talrijke wetenschappelijke publicaties bestrijken een groot aantal onderwerpen. Tot aan zijn pensionering in 1975 was hij werkzaam als conservator van de afdeling Egyptologie van het Museum van Oudheden te Leiden. Zijn archief omvat persoonlijke documenten, correspondentie, wetenschappelijke aantekeningen en woordenlijsten, geannoteerde exemplaren van zijn eigen werken en foto's.

Abstract in English

Bruno Hugo Stricker studied Egyptology in Leiden with Adriaan de Buck and leading Egyptologists in Berlin, Oxford and Paris.In 1945 he defended his thesis De indeeling der Egyptische taalgeschiedenis ('The classification of the history of the Egyptian language'). In the course of his research he extended his study to all neighbouring cultures and languages. His numerous scientific publications comprise a wide range of topics. Until his retirement in 1975 he was Curator of the Egyptological Department of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. His archive contains personal documents, correspondence, scholarly notes and glossaries, annotated author's copies and photographs.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive of B.H.Stricker was donated in 2006 by his heirs. It was retrieved from his home, apparently in disarray and incomplete. The donation also contained a large collection of printed books, part of which could be added to the collection of the library.


No future additions are to be expected.

Related Materials

In 2001 Stricker donated a collection of 40 manuscript volumes with glossaries in his own hand of languages such as Late Egyptian, Demotic, Old Nubian and Berber. These were registered as Codd. Or. 25.985-Or. 26.024.

Separated Materials

Part of the scholarly correspondence of B.H. Stricker is in the possession of his nephew and heir B.H.C.Stricker (Erasmus University Rotterdam). In principle, this collection can be consulted by appointment for serious research purposes.


  • Borghouts, J.F., Bruno Hugo Stricker 23 augustus 1910 – 18 september 2005 in: Levensberichten en herdenkingen van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen 2007, online via
  • DuQuesnes, T. (ed.), Hermes Aegyptiacus. Egyptological Studies for B.H. Stricker. Oxford 1995.
  • Renggli, F., Der Sonnenaufgang als Geburt eines Babys. Der pränatale Schlüssel zur ägyptischen Mythologie. Eine Hommage an den holländischen Religionskritiker Bruno Hugo Stricker, in: International Journal of Prenatal Psychology and Medicine 12/1 (2000), pp. 1-18.
  • Stricker, B.H,, De indeeling der Egyptische taalgeschiedenis. Leiden 1945.
  • Stricker, B.H,, L'océan des pleurs. Poème berbère de Muhammad al-Awzali. Leyde 1960.
  • Stricker, B.H., De geboorte van Horus. Leiden 1963-1989.
  • Stricker, B.H., De praehelleense ascese. Leuven 1994.
  • Stricker, B.H., Zijn en Worden. Amsterdam 1997.
  • Stricker, B.H., Herinneringen, ed. H. v.d. Velde. Leiden 2018.


The material can be requested in the online catalogus (Request uncatalogued material). It can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

Hans van de Velde repacked the collection in collaboration with conservator Karin Scheper. Simultaneously, van de Velde prepared the present inventory of the archive. In 2017 the archive was assigned the accession number Or. 27.515.

Collection guide of the Bruno Hugo Stricker archive (1905-2006)
Archief van Bruno Hugo Stricker
Hans van de Velde and Arnoud Vrolijk
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 11 December 2020: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
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