Skip to main content

Jan Brugman collection

Identifier: ubl663

Scope and Contents

Mostly Arabic books from Egypt. The main body of the collection consists of Arabic literature from the mid-20th century, written by well-known authors such as Najīb Maḥfūẓ, Sa‘īd ‘Aql and Muḥammad Shukrī, but likewise by many lesser-known Arab authors. Besides literary works, the collection also includes a considerable number of legal books on Islamic and secular law, published in various Arabic countries. Finally, the collection also includes a smaller number of Western scholarly works mostly written in English, Dutch and French, as well as a few works in which Brugman himself played a role as interviewee, supervisor, author etc.


  • Creation: 1853-2000
  • Creation: Bulk 20th century

Language of Materials

Arabic, English, Dutch, French, German

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Jan Brugman was born in Zaandam, the Netherlands, in 1923. He was stationed as a diplomat in Cairo between 1949 and 1959. A year later, he was appointed professor of Arabic culture and language at Leiden University, until his retirement in 1987. He wrote his dissertation on the influence of Islamic law in modern-day Egypt (Brugman 1960), but his scholarly knowledge extended well beyond the sphere of law. He was likewise well-versed on the subject of Arabic literature and he made an important contribution to the field with his extensive bibliography of modern Arabic literature in Egypt (Brugman 1984). During his career as a diplomat in Egypt he participated actively in circles of modern and avant-garde Egyptian writers, among whom Zaki Mugahid figured most prominently. In the Netherlands he was well known beyond the academic sphere through his many public appearances and publications, in which he distinguished himself as an independent-minded expert on the Arab world and the Islamic faith. He died in 2004 at the age of 81.


20 metres

Abstract in Dutch

Collectie gedrukte boeken verzameld door Jan Brugman (1923-2004), diplomaat in Egypte en hoogleraar Arabische taal en cultuurgeschiedenis aan de Leidse Universiteit. De collectie bestaat vooral uit Arabische literatuur en boeken over islamitisch en seculier recht.

Abstract in English

Collection of printed books gathered by Jan Brugman (1923-2004), diplomat in Egypt and professor of Arabic culture and language at Leiden University. The collection mainly consists of Arabic literature and legal books on Islamic and secular law.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library

Other Finding Aids

All materials may be retrieved from the online catalogue by searching Advanced Search, Leiden Collections, 'Location data contains Brugman'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired in 2005 from the heirs of Jan Brugman.


No future additions are to be expected.


  • Brugman, J., De betekenis van het Mohammedaanse recht in het hedendaagse Egypte. ’s-Gravenhage 1960.
  • Brugman, J., An introduction to the history of modern Arabic literature in Egypt. Leiden 1984.
  • Groot, G-R. de, In memoriam prof. Dr. Jan Brugman (1923–2004), in: Recht van de Islam 23 (2009): p. 13–15.
  • Peereboom, J.J., Onafhankelijk denkende Arabist, in: NRC (13 september 2004):
  • Witkam, J.J.,, ‘Het legaat van Jan Brugman’, in: Omslag: Bulletin van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden en het Scaliger Instituut 4/3 (2006), p. 8-9.


The materials are mostly loanable and can be requested in the online catalogue.

Processing Information

Most of the collection was catalogued in 2019/2020 by Daan Sanderse. All books have been marked with Brugman’s personal ex libris.


Collection guide of the Jan Brugman collection (1853-2000)
Collectie Jan Brugman
Daan Sanderse, 2020
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 28 July 2020: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

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