The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) in The Hague owns a fine and most comprehensive collection of manuscripts. Over 1,000 medieval manuscripts, over 5,000 manuscripts from the 16th century right through to modern times, and some 130,000 letters are stored in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek’s catacombs. Browsing through the collection of manuscripts, one might come across almost anything. A lock of Goethe’s hair (with a certificate of authenticity) for instance, or recipes for making good shoe polish. However, the lion’s share of the collection consists of more mainstream literary and historic material: manuscripts of novels and poems, letters, political pamphlets, travel accounts and other handwritten documents.
Especially for The Memory of the Netherlands, a number of top items have been selected from the collection of Modern Manuscripts. Take a look at the original version of the famous poem In den Zwarten Nacht, or see how the dabblings of poet Hendrik Marsman in the realm of prose turn out somewhat poorer than expected.