The Library houses a few special collections, of which the Grotius collection and the Peace Movement collection are the most important. We present highlights of these collections: old and rare books, brochures, pamphlets, conference reports, newspaper clippings, letters and photographs. The Image collection holds unique posters, engravings, photographs, cartoons, portraits and maps refering to themes and subjects such as war, peace, pacifism and the Peace Palace. Recently, the Library has been scanning Scheldt River publications and providing free access to these digital versions. The total amount of scanned pages is about 35.000!
The Peace Palace Library holds one of the largest collections in the world of the works of Hugo Grotius. The collection includes a rare early edition of Iure Belli ac Pacis ("On the Law of War and Peace"), his most famous work written in 1625. Not far from the place where he was arrested in 1618, he still reaches out to the international legal community. His fame as the "Founding Father of International Law" echoes in the International Court of Justice in cases related to the law of the sea, referring to his "Mare liberum" (1609). In Paris he wrote his masterpiece "De iure belli ac pacis" (1625), of which the library recently acquired the first print of the first edition.
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The Peace Palace Library holds a unique collection of images like poster, engravings, photographs, cartoons and maps. Together they form a visual supplement to the book collection. They show important historical scenes or persons. They refer to themes and subjects, which are research topics in the library. Especially the so-called “Poster collection” reflects subjects as “Peace”, “War” and “Anti-war movements”. The images on the posters from World War I and World War II give vivid impressions of the horrors of war, calling for support for the war parties and the fight against fascism.
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Peace Movement collection
The Peace Palace Library possesses a unique and important collection on several peace movements from the period 1899-1940, brought together by J.C. ter Meulen, Head Librarian 1924-1952. This “Peace Movement collection” consists of books, brochures, pamphlets, conference reports, newspaper clippings, letters and photographs from pacifist organizations and individuals connected with these organizations. These groups and individuals all strived for world peace in the period 1900-1940. Most of the materials are in Dutch, but there are also books and documents in English, German, French or other languages.
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Scheldt River collection
The Scheldt is a transboundary river which originates in North-Western France and runs through Western Belgium and the South-West of the Netherlands. The Scheldt Estuary is shared between Belgium and the Netherlands. The Dutch section of the estuary is called the Western Scheldt, and is of vital importance as navigation channel to the port of Antwerp. Since the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands in 1839, the free navigation of the Scheldt and the maintenance and improvement of the navigation channel have been a bone of contention and legal controversy. The Library has been scanning Scheldt River publications and providing free access to these digital versions through the online catalogue and through this webpage. The items have been scanned from paper copy volumes located in the stacks and are now freely available online as PDF files. The total amount of scanned pages is about 35.000!
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Collection of Engravings
This remarkable collection of engravings show a visual representation of kings and queens, mostly European noblemen, jurists, prelates, authors etc. The high quality images reveal very fine details which enable us to examine the role and significance of these historical figures by closely looking at their attributes, coats of arms and other symbolic items surrounding them. Occasionally, the portraits are accompanied with short texts describing the individual’s titles. This collection could serve as source material for scholars; however as a digital art gallery, it could be fascinating for anyone.
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