Speaker of the House of Representatives Khadija Arib opened an exhibition that highlights some old and rare books from the collection of the Dutch House of Representatives. The exhibition, which includes a twelve minute introductory film, is located at the entrance of the public gallery and thus open to the public. The books and film will be on display until the end of December.
The Historical Collection of the House of Representatives holds thousands of books and pamphlets from the sixteenth until the nineteenth century. In the first stages of the project, over 2,000 books have been investigated and 750 of the oldest, rarest and most valuable books were selected for restoration. These have now been returned to the library and a selection is on display.
The selection includes the well-known work Vaderlandsche historie by Jan Wagenaar, the renowned Dictionaire historique et critique of Pierre Bayle and two prize bindings from the Latin school in Zwolle. Some of the more valuable works are showcased in a secure area. The exhibition also includes some books that have not yet been restored. The contrast between the damaged and restored books underlines that time, funding and skills are necessary to preserve our national heritage.
Pamphlets and Brochures
In my talk I stressed that it is our obligation to preserve the collection as a whole, and not just the highlights. The library of the House of Representatives holds approximately 5,000 pamphlets and brochures from the 19th and early 20th century, that are illustrative for the political and social debates in those days. Topics include suffrage, the constitution, child labour, school laws, healthcare and colonial debates.