Royal letters online

On Friday 12 May 2023, the symposium Pennenvruchten took place at the Johan de Witt Huis in The Hague. During this symposium, two special online manuscript collections, managed by the Dutch Royal Collections, were launched. The manuscripts were collected by Prince Alexander (1851-1884) and his mother Queen Sophie. They are unique manuscripts, especially from the time of the Thirty Years’ War, the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

The collections were digitised and conserved under the direction of Ineke Huysman of the Huygens Institute with funding from Metamorfoze, the National Paper Heritage Preservation Programme. The online collection consists of 36,036 scans and will be further enriched with metadata in the coming years. Huysman launched the collections at a special location: the Johan de Witt House was not only the home of Prince Alexander, but also of Johan de Witt.

Ineke Huysman presents the letters that will become available online in a period room at the Johan de Witthuis in The Hague.

Ineke Huysman opens the symposium Pennenvruchten.

The symposium included lectures on Prince Alexander and his manuscript collection and Queen Sophie as ‘femme philosophe’. Dirk van Miert, director of the Huygens Institute took a look at the letters of scholars such as Joseph Scaliger. He pointed out the versatility of the collection, which is clearly not set up as a research collection but rather a ‘show collection’, which researchers nevertheless cannot ignore because there are all kinds of gems to discover in it.