Collections in the Royal Archives

The Royal Archives is responsible for managing the archive, the library and collections of documentation belonging to the Royal House.

Image: Royal Archives
Primo Divisio of 1255.

Archive

The archive comprises the personal archives of members of the House of Nassau and the House of Orange-Nassau from the 13th century to the present day. It also contains the archives of the Royal Household and its Officers and other individuals connected with the court.

One of the oldest documents in the archive is the Primo Divisio of 1255, the agreement whereby the brothers Walram and Otto van Nassau divided the Nassau lands, with the River Lahn as the boundary between their respective holdings. The present House of Orange-Nassau is descended from Otto and the Grand Ducal House of Luxembourg from Walram.

In addition to a large number of topographical and thematic maps, the archive contains a collection of manuscripts that was established in the 19th century, bringing together manuscripts relating to royal houses, artists, soldiers and scholars from the era of the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War, in the 16th and 17th centuries. There is also a collection of manuscripts dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Library

The library contains the books owned by members of the House of Orange, some of those that belonged to Louis Napoleon while he was King of Holland, and a collection of music. This library dates from the return of the House of Orange to the Netherlands in 1813, after the French occupation. King Willem I gave permission for the library of the 18th-century stadholders to continue as part of what became the Royal Library in The Hague.

Collections of documentation

These collections comprise:

  •  topographical drawings and prints;
  •  picture postcards;
  •  printed material (newspaper cuttings, brochures, menus and programmes);
  •  a photographic archive (3,000 albums and some 60,000 individual photos).