English version: Librije

Authentic Edam city library/ Latin school, from around 1538 Guest page

Edam Museum, The foundation of Ecclesiastical Heritage Buildings of Edam (The Great Church) and the Old Edam Association are exploring the possibility of reviving Edam Librije [a medieval library of chained books].

The groups in Edam are being assisted by the town of Enkhuizen, where the Librije (West church) was reopened a few years ago.This comprises the three elements of a Librij comprises a Latin school, a city library and a church (ecclesiastical) library. Along with Zutphen, these three town are the unique locations in the Netherlands, where you can experience the atmosphere of this type of medieval (elite) educational institution.

Edam Librije is expected to reopen in 2020. Here is a taste of what you can expect:

The Edam Collection: 158 historical books

Books published after 1501 (post-incunable) by authoritative philosophers, church leaders and orators such as Bullinger (15 titles), Erasmus (9 titles), Hieronymus (6 titles), Cicero (4 titles).

Click on the book below for the entire catalogue of titles in the collection. Currently only available in Dutch

Click here for more information about the collection. Currently only available in Dutch.


This was part of the teaching book of the time: PANEGYRICI LATINI

Click on the image of Constantine the Great for more information. Currently only available in Dutch.


Edamse Librije rediscovered by H. F. Kohlbrugge

Edam museum has built up a nice library over the years. Some books were given by private when the museum was founded in 1895. In 2011, an archivist stumbled across two very old books. These show, in Roman numerals, 1561 and 1563 as the dates of the first impression. Someone had written something at the bottom of the front cover.

Photo: bibliopolis.nl

,,Dit boeck is afsproken zaliger Paulus Pietersz tot die Librije van Edam”

This means the book was bequeathed to the Librije by Paulus Pietersz. He was a Catholic priest who converted and joined the Reformation in 1572. He was the first minister of Edam Great Church and died in 1575.

As a student (at the Atheneum in Amsterdam) Hermann Friedrich Kohlbrugge often came to Edam, where his grandmother lived, and he studied under the trees that were in the square around the old church and Edam churchyard at that time (1820-1825). He was always looking for important antiques and found this old church building particularly attractive, walking under the high vaults. Read more by clicking on the portrait of Kohlbrugge (Currently only available in Dutch)…

Portrait of Dr. Ds. Hermann Friedrich Kohlbrugge (1853, J A Roeting – collectie Museum Catharijne Convent)

Illuminations – Breviary books

[Breviary books contain the services to be recited by Catholic priests daily]

Boring books at the Latin school? Certainly not!

As soon as the printing press arrived, a search was made for all kinds of graphic decorations to reproduce on a larger scale. There are several beautiful illuminations in the books from the Church or ecclesiastical libraries (later the Librijes).

Enough were found for an exhibition, and between February and June 2018 a fascinating exhibition was at the Museum of the Catharijne Convent, and under the title ‘Magical Miniatures’.

Find out more by cliking on the logo of the Catharijne Convent. Currently only available in Dutch.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor afbeelding logo catharijne convent


Click here for film about the Edam Librije(6 minuten). Currently only available in Dutch


Medieval incantations?

Not unique to Edam, but intriguing, that we know for sure: A church is a sacred building and so, therefore were its component parts, to which medicinal powers were attributed….

CLick to find out more about “Devils scratches …… or plague powder?” Currently only available in Dutch

Publication Corrie Boschma in the members magazine of the Vereniging Oud Edam [Association of Old Edam]
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