The University Library stimulates, supports and facilitates the use of Maastricht University’s Special Collections
and the thoughtful integration of digital technology to advance education and research. We also emphasise the social relevance of these collections.

Closed stacks request

The Special Collections are kept under special conditions in the closed stacks. You can request available items from the closed stacks. You can borrow twentieth century books. Pre-1901 books are only available to library users in the Parlour. You need a valid UM-card. For more information, see Requesting items from the closed stacks.



The Parlour is an inspiring space for consulting the library’s precious books. Its name is derived from the old French word “Parloir” which refers to the most beautiful room in the house set aside for speaking with someone or for the reception of guests. The room is furnished with tables full of references to the library’s Special Collections. These true artworks reflect the international focus of the university with images of expeditions, foreign languages, and distant places. The Parlour is located at the Inner City Library left of the information desk.


Scan request

Do you have documents you would like to use in your research? Use our expertise in scanning, indexing and storing scientific and academic sources. Our services offer solutions for protecting sensitive materials or reading and sharing documents digitally from any workstation. For more information, see Scanning for research.



Education and research

We stimulate the integration of research and education by having students participate in research-based learning. The aim is to have students learn about conducting research and acquire new substantive knowledge by actually doing research. We currently contribute to several faculty courses with our collections of travel books, and books on literature, psychology, law and medicine. Examples include courses within the Wikipedia Education Program, such as On Expedition, Historical Book Review, and Opening up old books: investigating the botanical archives of Maastricht. By writing a Wikipedia article students practice writing from a neutral point of view, referencing and citing sources. Did you know that we are the most active university in the Wikipedia Benelux Education Program?


On Expedition

Students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) write about our illustrated travel books on Wikipedia. This cooperation with Wikimedia NL provides interesting contributions every year.


Historical Book Review

This course is a collaboration with the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN) and Wikimedia NL. Students write on Wikipedia about original, strange or slightly offbeat psychology books from our collections.


Opening up old books:

investigating the botanical archives of Maastricht

This collaboration with the Maastricht Science Programme (MSP) and Wikimedia NL aims to stimulate research in natural history collections. Students conduct a comparative analysis between the content of an interesting, important, and/or peculiar plant-biology related book and current day’s knowledge on that topic. This project results in a scientific report as well as an encyclopaedic article on Wikipedia.

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Other collaborations

Style and Modernity

Collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS). In this seminar on the history of western art in the 19th and 20th century, students study concepts as style, modernity, modernism and avant-garde, based on literary historical fiction from the Special Collections.


Does experiencing art make you a better doctor?

Our contribution to the opening of an elective about art and medicine, initiated by the the Arts and Heritage Commission and in 2018 coordinated by the Jan van Eyck Academy. In this course bachelor students of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences try to answer if experiencing art makes them a better doctor. It consists of training sessions, research, workshops, lectures and interviews. The library contributes with a lecture and a self-study assignment about anatomical atlases. Students also participate in a Special Collections tour. Read the article in Observant.

Think about the added value using these books can have in some of your courses. Let us know how we can support you. Start with contacting us for a private tour of the collections.


Benefits for your students

• using primary sources creates a stimulating educational environment
• physically experiencing these sources in its raw, unmediated form, unselected and untranscribed, encourages discussion, generates uncommon ideas, and leads to critical thinking
• engaging with primary sources is challenging and intriguing because students come into contact with traces left by real people who lived and thought and acted
• extracting information from a large amount of disparate material by distinguishing what is relevant and useful, is a skill essential to academic learning.

If you want to know more about how we can support you, contact the Special Collections team via Ask your librarian below.


Contact & Support

For questions or information, use the web form to contact a Special Collections specialist.


Ask Your Librarian - Contact a library specialist
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