VU heritage and collections


The university library is the curator of unique heritage collections, documenting the history of the VU, the history of research and education at the VU and of Protestantism and other special materials. We make these collections available through e.g. LibSearch, our Image Database, Geoplaza and in exhibitions.
Our special collections consist of:

- Academic Heritage Objects (Liselotte Neervoort)
- Maps (Reinout Klaarenbeek)
- Art (Wende Wallert)
- Manuscripts and Early printed books (Willemien van Dijk)
- Dutch Protestant Heritage (Jasmijn Vervloet

From September 2020 on: various activities by the University Library for the Kuyper year 2020-2021
In the academic year 2020-21, the University Library organizes various activities to commemorate the centennial of the death of VU founder Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) and to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the VU. Together with scientists, artists, Kuyper experts and students, we showcase the life and ideas of Kuyper and the history of the VU in exhibitions online and on campus.

- Artwork Kuyper revisited: Especially for the Kuyper year, artist Wafae Ahalouch (1987, Tangier, Morocco) has created a work of art for which she was inspired by Abraham Kuyper's ideas. The artwork will be unveiled in early November 2020. Read more about the artist and the assignment (Dutch).
- Online exhibition: VU objects and their stories | 140 years of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Dutch)
- Online columns from the archivist of the Protestant Heritage collections, Jasmijn Vervloet: Adventures in the Kuyper archive
- Online exhibition: 'BRAM',: lessons from the personal life of Abraham Kuyper’ (Coming soon) 

Tools of the trade
In this exhibition, we look through the University Library collections to find objects that scientists have used in the past and some that they still use today. The library is home to a wealth of research material that provides an insight into how science and the humanities have changed. But the collections can also be a source for new research. Tools of the Trade highlights a random selection of a wide variety of sciences and humanities past and present.

Exhibitions that have been held;partly still visible online

‘How to…. portray a professor?’
What constitutes a good professor portrait for the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam? This question is the subject of the exhibition and the debate ‘How to portray a professor’, organised by the WO&MEN@vu network in collaboration with VU Heritage and Collections. Does this involve a painting, a photo or a film? Is it abstract or figurative? Do we see an individual or a team, a researcher or a lecturer? We are eager to hear what students and staff think about this issue. To give you some inspiration, the exhibition also presents a selection from the VU collection of professor portraits.

Exhibition Cabinet of Wonder
Artists, students and curators created Cabinets of Wonder, inspired by the collections of VU Amsterdam. Wander over the Campus, listen to the stories and be amazed!

Interactive exhibition To Tell The Truth
From July until October 2018 we display a new object in the VU heritage collections showcase and on the page interactive exhibition To Tell The Truth every few weeks. Alongside each item are three stories: one that's true and two that are made up. Do you know which story tells the truth...?