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The KB as seen from the Prins Bernhardviaduct
|Size||6 million items, over 110 km (68 miles) of books, newspapers, journals and microforms|
|Access and use|
The Royal Library of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek or KB; Royal Library) is based in The Hague and was founded in 1798. The mission of the Royal Library of the Netherlands, as presented on the library's web site, is to provide "access to the knowledge and culture of the past and the present by providing high-quality services for research, study, and cultural experience".
The initiative to found a national library was proposed by representative Albert Jan Verbeek on August 17 1798. The collection would be based on the confiscated book collection of William V. The library was officially founded as the Nationale Bibliotheek on November 8 of the same year, after a committee of representatives had advised the creation of a national library on the same day. The National Library was initially only open to members of the Representative Body.
King Louis Bonaparte gave the national library its name of the Royal Library in 1806. Napoleon Bonaparte transferred the Royal Library to The Hague as property, while also allowing the Imperial Library in Paris to expropriate publications from the Royal Library. In 1815 King William I of the Netherlands confirmed the name of 'Royal Library' (Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek) by royal resolution. It has been known as the National Library of the Netherlands since 1982, when it opened new quarters. The institution became independent of the state in 1996, although it is financed by the Department of Education, Culture and Science.
In 2004, the National Library of the Netherlands contained 3,300,000 items, equivalent to 67 kilometers of bookshelves. Most items (2,500,000 books or 48 km) in the collection are books. There are also pieces of "grey literature", where the author, publisher, or date may not be apparent but the document has cultural or intellectual significance. The collection contains almost the entire literature of the Netherlands, from medieval manuscripts to modern scientific publications. For a publication to be accepted, it must be from a registered Dutch publisher. The collection is accessible for members. Any person aged 16 years or older can become a member. One day passes are also available. Requests for material take approximately 30 minutes. The KB hosts several open access websites, including the "Memory of the Netherlands" (Geheugen van Nederland).
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