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Digitization Project



In 2012 the Ritman Library started the Hermetically Open project with the aim of extending its traditional core tasks to the virtual domain. The library’s online community has grown significantly thanks to the constant use of the social media and other online channels. The first scans will be launched in the spring of 2017 . The digital content will furthermore be linked to public information sources through Linked Open Data.

In 2016 and 2017 the BPH will be preparing to move to the ‘House with the Heads’ on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht. This important event in the history of the library will be used as an opportunity to digitize the core collection. In the near future, it will be possible not only to consult the books physically in the new building but also online throughout the world. This project fulfills a major objective of the Hermetically Open project by making the core collection accessible online through digitization and integration of the material in the new online catalogue.

The comprehensive digitization project will be carried out by Picturae, a company specializing in making Dutch cultural heritage digitally accessible.

This project is co-financed by author Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), who has donated the sum of € 300,000, and by the Netherlands’ Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, which has donated the sum of € 15,000. The BPH has been advised in its fundraising campaign by “Wijzer Werven”, an initiative by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to support cultural non-profit organizations (organizations with an ANBI status). The BPH contributes to the digitization project by engaging staff and volunteers in the field of project monitoring.

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Download the brochure of the digitization project here.


2017/02/04 Third batch of books is on its way to be scanned.
Already some 30 of these crates full of books have been digitized. We will soon be receiving the first scans soon for approval. We are also working on a new website to make the scans available online in the best possible way. Batch no. 3 is on its way to Picturae to be scanned. We hope to provide a preview of some of the scans in a few weeks!

2016/10/11 Picturae Symposium: presentation by Beatrice Augrandjean
On Tuesday October 11th, the first Heritage Experts Symposium took place at Picturae digitising company. It was a symposium organised for and by their customers. The idea behind this day was to let the customers themselves talk about all the wonderful projects they are or have been engaged in that involved Picturae . In total there were 12 customers, who told their story to an audience of over 90 visitors. One of the speakers was Beatrice Augrandjean of The Ritman Library, who talked about digitising and the challenges encountered by the library on the way. It was a dynamic day and great to share our exciting project with others!

Beatrice showing a video about Joost Ritman, the founder of The Ritman Library, during the Picturae Symposium

Beatrice showing a video about Joost Ritman, the founder of The Ritman Library, during the Picturae Symposium

2016/09/20 Off we go: digitizing!
Off we go: digitizing! It’s really happening: our curator José went to the storage space in Alkmaar where our pre-1900 books are currently housed. She helped digitization company Picturae to pack the first batch of books that will be digitized by them. We are very excited to see the results, and will keep you posted about the process. After years of dreaming about having our core collection available online, it’s finally going to happen. Stay tuned!14361263_1248150808582538_4084001296558324072_o

2016/06/16 Author Dan Brown donates to digitize ancient texts
Novelist Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) has donated € 300,000 to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica to digitize and preserve part of its priceless collection, including Hermetica, alchemy, mysticism, Rosicrucians and Kabbala. More info…