BPH Collection has been added to the Unesco Memory of the World Register

Press release 1 November 2022 - Collection Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica has been added to the Unesco Memory of the World Register.


The Netherlands has a new heritage list, the Dutch Memory of the World Register. On Tuesday 1 November, our country's Memory of the World Committee decided to place eight heritage collections on this list.

Unesco has had the global Memory of the World Register since the early 1990s. Sixteen documentary heritage items with a (partly) Dutch background are registered on it (status Oct 2022). In addition to this global list, regional and national registers are also possible.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Unesco programme, the Dutch Memory of the World Register has been created, which will include exceptional documentary heritage items with a strong Dutch appeal. Chairman Martin Berendse of the Dutch Memory of the World Committee says: "With this register, we put the spotlight on some very diverse collections and pieces. This helps us realize how special and diverse our Dutch documentary heritage is."

On Friday 4 November, all institutions with entries on the new register will be visited. In honor of the placement, they will receive the special Unesco Memory of the World Flag. It will be a festive journey across the Netherlands, ending in Middelburg from Leeuwarden, via Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam.


On 1 November, Unesco announced the addition of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica collection (BPH) to the Unesco Memory of the World Register.

Lucinda Martin, former director of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica and the Ritman Research Institute:

"The recognition of the library's unique collection by Unesco will certainly help to give the library, the place it deserves.

The aim of the library is to show what the role of the Hermetic tradition has been in history, including the special contribution of the Netherlands as protector of free speech and free conscience.

These are works that are not only intrinsically important but have also often made an important contribution to Dutch national identity and to modern ideas about Human Rights."

The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica collection has about 29,000 books and manuscripts, including about 7,500 books printed before 1800. Recognizing the importance of the collection, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science took ownership of part of the collection in 2005. These 4,500 books and 320 manuscripts are currently kept at Allard Pierson, part of the University of Amsterdam.

Biblia sacra Hebraice, Chaldaice, Graece & Latine ('Biblia Regia', of Polyglot-bijbel). Antwerpen: Chr. Plantijn, 1568-1572. 5 delen, met de hand ingekleurd. Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica Collectie, Amsterdam.


In this unique library, which forms the core collection of museum Embassy of the Free Mind, documents, books and manuscripts are collected, preserved and made accessible in the field of Hermeticism and related movements.

Thinkers in fields such as alchemy, mysticism, Rosicrucians, Freemasonry, and Jewish and Christian Kabbalah assumed universal values shared by all people. That universality, emphasizing the common traits of people and of religions, is at the heart of the thought the library wants to promote, along with the idea that human beings cannot be separated from the world, from nature. The key words are tolerance and understanding.

In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, today's Netherlands, was the place where, thanks to the freedom that prevailed here, such ideas could be developed and spread. That climate, the relative freedom, therefore attracted thousands of refugees, who were able to live out their faith here in freedom.

Even today, the Dutch are proud of their historical tradition, in which freedom and tolerance, humanity and progression were and still are normative. These are values that emerged through interaction with the many refugees who found a safe haven in our country.


65 years ago, in 1957, Joost R. Ritman received an antiquarian book from his mother: Aurora, by the German mystic Jacob Böhme. It was the start of a unique and special collection that is now housed at the BPH.

In 1984, Ritman made the collection accessible for scientific research, a scientific staff was appointed under the direction of Prof Dr Frans A. Janssen, and a programme of conferences, exhibitions and publications was launched.

In 2016, Joost and Rachel Ritman donated the collection to the Worldheart Foundation (ANBI) . For accommodation, they bought and donated the famous monument the 'House with the Heads' on Keizersgracht 123 in Amsterdam, which has since housed the library and museum.


Museum Embassy of the Free Mind was inaugurated five years ago by best-selling author Dan Brown, who has used the library along with hundreds of other authors and artists like Umberto Eco over the years. By sharing wisdom, Embassy of the Free Mind aims to encourage free thinking and action and create more freedom and equality in the world. The hermetic principle - Everything is connected - All is One - is the museum's core message. Tours, concerts, lectures and (children's) workshops are regularly organized around the themes of the collection.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

More information: www.embassyofthefreemind.com



Jasha van der Wel, PR Manager, 0627276704 of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Text and images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0g8l1hvsba4jfxp/AABMcbxg3BDnBehl5vJeak8ca?dl=0

Online catalogue: https://embassyofthefreemind.com/en/library/online-catalogue


Members of the press are cordially invited to attend the committee's visit to the Embassy of the Free Mind on Friday 4 November at 12.30pm. A delicious lunch will be available from 12.15pm.

Address: Keizersgracht 123, Amsterdam