Ritman Research Institute

The Ritman Research Institute is dedicated to studying the history of hermetic streams of thought.

Named for the founder of the library, Joost R. Ritman, the Ritman Research Institute is dedicated to studying the history of hermetic streams of thought, especially those in which the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica has strong holdings: hermetica, mysticism, Christian theosophy, heterodoxy, alchemy, Rosicrucians, Freemasonry, Jewish and Christian Kabbala, comparative religion and Western Esotericism. Read more about the collecting areas here.

Today, the importance of “esoteric” thinkers is widely recognized in academia, but that is a recent development. For a long time, the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica was one of the few places to study this tradition. Some of the first scholars associated with the Ritman Research Institute like Roelof van den Broek and Gilles Quispel translated foundational writings, such as the Corpus Hermeticum, the texts of the legendary figure Hermes Trismegistus, and the Gnostic texts, making these writings available to both specialists and the general public for the first time. The Institute’s research has been especially strong in the area of Rosicrucian studies, a field dominated internationally by our longtime researcher and librarian, Carlos Gilly.

The Ritman Research Institute engages with other scholars and the public through conferences, lectures, publications, and cooperative exhibitions with our associated museum, The Embassy of the Free Mind. This is the case, for example, with a series of international exhibitions on the mystical philosopher Jacob Boehme, yet another important focus of our research activity.

The public is welcome to attend our events and we expressly invite interested scholars to contact us about collaboration. It is also possible to do your own research in our reading room.


Click here to see future events.

Click here to see past events.


Click here to see the academic staff.