The collection of maps and atlases at Leiden University Libraries consists of approximately 100,000 map sheets (including c. 3,000 manuscript maps), 3,500 atlases and 25,000 topographical prints and drawings.
The larger part was bequeathed in 1872 as a legacy of publisher Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis (1797-1872). The maps are dating from the sixteenth century to the present-day. The emphasis lays on cartographic material of the Low Countries and western Europe and the regions of the Dutch East- and West-India companies (VOC and WIC) and the former Dutch colonies, especially of present-day Indonesia. Accents and specialties are maps by Dutch mapmakers with special attention to cartographers from Leiden.
The most important map collections with Asian materials are:
The collection Maps and Atlases consists of:
- Bodel Nijenhuis Collection: c. 50,000 maps, 300 atlases and 22,000 topographical prints and drawings (bequeathed 1872).
- Siebold Collection: c. 250 Japanese maps and geographical works (acquired in 1881)
- Maps and atlases of the former Department of Colonies (acquired in 1963 and 1979).
- Kern Institute Collection: 13 early maps and c. 600 modern maps of India (2010).
- Colonial Collection of the Royal Tropical Institute: c. 11,000 map sheets of the Dutch colonies and c. 250 atlases (State loan since 2013).
- Post-colonial Collection of the Royal Tropical Institute: Over 15,000 map sheets and c. 750 atlases of tropical and sub-tropical regions (donated in 2013)
- Map collection of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV): over 15,000 maps and 500 atlases of Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles (given on loan by the KITLV learned society in 2014).
- Maps and atlases of the Sinology Institute (inherited in 2016).