Consulting the collections

If you would like to consult our collections in the reading room, this page contains all practical information about requesting materials, archives that require permission, and facilities.

IISH | Photo by Sicco van Grieken
Foto: Sicco van Grieken

Requesting materials

You can request materials via our online catalogue: search.iisg.amsterdamThe catalogue contains all the material curated by the IISH. Part of the collection is available online

Physical materials are brought to the reading room, where you can view them. Visitors do not have access to the warehouses. Pre-requested material will be available on the day of visit from 10:00 am.

You can also request materials on the day of your visit. Materials are collected four times a day: at 9:30, 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00. We try to make requested materials available to you within half an hour.

Want to know more about requesting materials?

Our rules of use for handling our collections can be found here.


In the reading room, you can use our free Wi-Fi connection. A number of computers with internet access are also at your disposal.

The reading room contains reference works, recent volumes of a selection of journals, and publications of the IISH, which can be freely consulted by visitors.

All other materials (books, brochures, newspapers, journals, archival and audio-visual materials) are stored in closed warehouses. Most of these materials can be requested via the online catalogue.

Visitors to the reading room can use the canteen on the first floor.

Requesting permission

Please note that the use of some archives requires permission. This information can be found under the heading 'Consultation and use' on the catalogue page listing the archive. You can request permission via the online catalogue using the 'request permission' button on the same catalogue page.

The Public Services Department will submit the application to an external contact and has no influence on the outcome. Please note that obtaining permission may take some time. We recommend that you apply for permission well in advance.

In some cases, a collection is fully or partially closed. In such cases, requesting permission is not possible. Collections may be temporarily closed for digitisation or inventory purposes.


    The reading room has equipment for:

    • scanning documents up to A3 size;
    • reading and digital storage of microfilms and microfiches;
    • viewing video tapes, slides and negatives;
    • listening to CDs, LPs and cassettes.