Complete correspondence of Constantijn Huygens available online

Amsterdam, 2 December 2022 – From 2 December 2022, the digital edition of the correspondence of Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687) will be fully available online. The Huygens Institute produced this edition in collaboration with NL-Lab.

On 2 December, the Huygens Institute launched the complete digital edition of all known letters by and to Constantijn Huygens to date with over nine thousand letters. That is some two thousand more than in the printed edition that was published over a hundred years ago. The launch took place in cooperation with the Royal Library in The Hague during the conference ‘Constantijn Huygens. A life in letters’. Renowned experts told about Huygens’ versatility on the basis of his letters.

Although to many, Constantijn Huygens is best known as a poet, his most important role was that of servant to the House of Orange. He was secretary to both city enforcers Frederick Henry and William II. His correspondence provides insight into numerous important events and the lives of influential people of the seventeenth century. It also reveals that Huygens was not only a poet, diplomat, scholar, composer and architect, but also a perfumer, an aspect to which little attention has been paid so far.

Thanks to the efforts of Ineke Huysman and her team, the edition can be searched by date, correspondent, place of dispatch and place where it can be found. A digital image of the original letter of each letter has been added with links to digitised editions. Many letters include a transcription and a contemporary translation.

Catullus Publishers, edited by Ineke Huysman and Ad Leerintveld, published Constantijn Huygens. A life in letters, an anthology of 38 letters. Several experts from the Netherlands and Belgium place these letters in their historical context, giving insight into Huygens’ great versatility. A scented candle was also produced after Huygens’s original recipe for ‘Rieckend water van mijn moeder’.