University archives will remain in Leiden
On 24 November 2011 Leiden University and the Nationaal Archief (National Archives of the Netherlands) signed an agreement on the deposit of and access to the archives of Leiden University.
Anyone investigating the history of Leiden University will quickly find himself in the Special Collections of Leiden University Libraries. Here one can study, amongst many other collections, the archives of the Senate, of the Curators (presently: Board of Directors), the Faculties, the University Council, and other institutional bodies, covering the period from 1575, when the university was founded, to about 1990.
Well over fifty archival entities (comprising more than 500 metres of shelf space) contain information on teaching and research, professors, lecturers and students, finances, housing, contacts with other institutions, and on a host of other – scientific, political and managerial – issues that have arisen during the last four hundred years. The most recent acquisition is the archive of the world-famous Leiden Observatory.
According to the Dutch Archives Act the governmental archives, including those of the state universities, should be deposited in a public archive within twenty years after their creation. For Leiden University the repository is the Nationaal Archief in The Hague (it being the record office of the province of Zuid-Holland).
Yet these archives have been kept in Leiden University Library since 1908. One reason for this are the close relations (with respect to their content) of the university archives with the Special Collections. Many of the personal archives kept as a part of the Special Collections were given by Leiden academics, among whom the classical scholar Josephus Scaliger (1540-1609) and the historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945). Moreover, the university administrators have always taken the view that the university archives should remain in Leiden.
On 24 November, 2011, regulation and practice were brought into accord. Paul van der Heijden, Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, and Martin Berendse, Algemeen Rijksarchivaris (National Archivist), concluded an agreement to formally hand over Leiden’s university archives to the National Archives. Simultaneously, the Algemeen Rijksarchivaris gave the archives back to Leiden University as a long-term loan. This all happened without so much as moving a snippet of paper.
The archives are made available by the University Library in Leiden under the same conditions as applied by the National Archives in The Hague. For the users nothing changes: like before everyone can consult the Leiden University Archives in the Special Collections Reading Room