Contemporary Printed Books

The collection

The Department of Contemporary Printed Books holds the Royal Library’s main collection of printed works from the 19th Century up until now. This collection contains the publications printed after 1800: a total of five million documents stored in 150 kilometres of stacks. The collection is divided into different subcollections.


The collection consists of two parts:

  • The most important collection of Belgian publications, journals and magazines in the country, which, since 1966, includes the collections from the Legal Deposit.
  • A collection of monographs, series and periodicals  published abroad. Since 2001, the main focus of this collection is the humanities.

The books from the collection are not available for borrowing but may be consulted in the Reading Room. You cannot collect the books, with the exception of the reference works, from the stacks yourself.

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The Department of Contemporary Printed Books hosts small exhibitions throughout the year, featuring themes based on printed works from the main collection. These exhibitions can be viewed at the entrance to the General Reading Room. You do not need a reader’s card to visit them.


How to consult books

How to request a publication? What I am allowed to copy and what not? These and other questions are addressed in the page about the General Reading Room.



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