CLZ 742: Thomas de Aquino, Super quarto Sententiarum Petri Lombardi (Mainz, Schoeffer, 1469) is the oldest printed book in the Librije.

The original collection and later additions

De Librije owns a total of 8 manuscripts and 821 printed works. In addition to the books that were present from the beginning, others have been added over time through purchases, donations and bequests. But several books have also disappeared. This can be deduced from the various catalogs and book lists that have been drawn up over the centuries.

The manuscripts date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The oldest printed work dates from 1469, the last printed work appeared in 1817. A special part are the 87 incunabula – books printed before 1501.


The largest part of the collection consists of theological literature (32%). In addition, a striking number of legal works are present (30%). History is represented at 12%, linguistics and literature at 7%. Also surprising is the number of school books, including several unique copies (12%).

CLZ 132: Willem Jansz Blaeu, Zeespiegel. Amsterdam, W.J. Blaeu, 1623. 3 parts in 2 volumes.

Special books

De Librije owns a very famous book: the work of (Nicolaus) Copernicus, De revolutionibus corporum coelestium (Nuremberg, 1543). In this work, the author explained that not the earth, but the sun is the center of the universe.

The work of (Willem Jansz.) Blaeu, Zeespiegel (Amsterdam, 1623) is exceptional because, as far as we know, this copy is the most complete copy that has come to us. The work, intended for sailors, contains maps with images of sea coasts.


De Librije owns more than a hundred school books.The booklets are first mentioned by Dirk van Wullen in his archive of the chancellery of the Walburgiskerk in 1827. According to K.O. Meinsma, they may have come from the legacy of Theodorus Velpius, rector of the chapter school in Zutphen, who died in 1569. They would be the ’19 books in small format’ mentioned in the Velpius list. Meinsma had the convolutes taken apart and re-bound as separate titles.

He decided to incorporate them in the library of the Librije, although, strictly speaking, they are not Librije books. It can be seen that they have been used intensively. That is why sometimes no other copies of these booklets exist. In addition to notes, they also contain ordinary drawings. Even then, students were not always focused on their lessons. In the display case in the Librije a small school book, eaten by mice, is shown. On the open pages drawings of birds are visible. The booklet is a Latin grammar textbook and was written by Erasmus. De Librije owns no fewer than 76 publications by him or to which he has contributed.

CLZ 336

A Deventer bookbinder

One of the bookbinders with whom the administrators of the Librije did business was Vincent van Russenborch in Deventer. In those days, one did not buy a book in the form we know. People bought a bundle of leaves. These had to be kept together and bookbinders took care of that. Vincent, of course, knew very well what the meaning of the books in the Librije was. But Vincent was also a supporter of the opposing party, namely Luther. As a good bookbinder, he decorated the book cover. He also used images of the reformers: Johannes Hus, Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon and also Erasmus. Berner never discovered that. Yet Vincent van Russenborch was caught, presumably betrayed. In 1564 he hastily left Deventer. What became of him is unknown.

CLZ 467 Reformatoren

CLZ  467 Reformers

Image of Martin Luther

Martin Luther