Academic heritage

Special Collections holds several collections that were made or used either in education or during research practices at Wageningen University & Research and its forebears in the past. The major part consists of image collections covering plant, animal and environmental sciences. The collections are available for research in their original shape and can be studied in the reading room. A part of these collections is digitally available.

How to find academic heritage collections?

1. Wageningen University & Research - Image Collections: Look up digitised heritage collections at WUR Image Collections.

2. Academic heritage collections can be found here, both digital as well as in original print.

3. Search for specific materials in the Special Collections Catalogue. Please enter your subject in the search box. You could narrow your search by choosing a 'collection' or ‘document type’ on the left side: ‘Historical photographs’ or 'Illustrated publications'.

Printed collection

Historical photographs: 5000 photos from 1850-1970. The photos portray livestock, civil engineering, garden architecture and the Dutch East Indies, especially on tropical agriculture and ethnography.


In the 1950s Professor E.W. Hofstee from the former department Sociology and Sociography developed a tool to create maps with statistical data of the Netherlands. You could consider this technique as a predecessor to today's GIS. The original puzzle frame and drawers with the puzzle pieces are still on display in the Leeuwenborch.

Maria Sibylla Merian, a renowned botanical artist and entomologist, went to Surinam in 1699 to study insects. A very special edition of this book, a so-called pirate edition, is in Wageningen University & Research's Special Collections.

Fascinating nature. Images from the Special Collections of Wageningen UR Library, showed at the Dies Natalis of Wageningen University at 9 March 2015.