The Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV) was founded in 1851 as a ‘Vereniging’ or Learned Society, a members’ association. From its establishment in 1851 up to 2001, the management of the KITLV was the responsibility of the Board of the ‘Vereniging’ or Learned Society on behalf of its members. In January 1st, 2001, the KITLV became an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW) based in Amsterdam. Since then the KNAW  accounted for some 90 per cent of the budget of the KITLV, with the rest being provided by the Learned Society. On July 1, 2014, the direct relation between the ‘Vereniging’ and the KNAW was severed. The Vereniging entrusted the management of its world-famous collections to Leiden University, while KITLV continued as a research institute of the KNAW, still housed on campus in Leiden. The Learned Society remains the owner of all collections acquired until that date.


The Board is structurally involved in a number of committees dealing with the former KITLV Press, the research programmes, and so on, and is responsible for the programme of activities of the Learned Society. The Society’s board regularly organizes activities for the Learned Society, which are directed toward both members and non-members.


The Learned Society is the owner of the unique and scientific KITLV collections assembled to 1 July 2014, which are managed by Leiden University Libraries / Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden (UBL) since that date. The KITLV collection comprises around a million – largely post-colonial – books and special collections. The special collections contains Oriental and Western manuscripts & archives, 200.000 photographs, picture postcards, prints & drawings, maps & atlases, old & rare books and 150,000 digitised from Indonesia, Suriname and the Antilles. Outside Indonesia itself, the collection is generally considered to hold the world’s largest and best collection of written documents on and from Indonesia.


A selection of the highlights from the collections of KITLV is published in Treasures, a beautiful book that offers a visual journey through the richdom and variety of the collections. Click here to see more of  Treasures …>>


The ownership of KITLV collection is still visible in the UBL catalog. Future gifts to the Learned Society will remain the property of the Learned Society, in custody of the UBL. Future acquisitions of books and journals will be the responsibility of the UBL, which will also be the owner of these collections acquired after 1 July 2014.


The activities of the Learned Society are closely linked to those of the Institute and are directed towards both members and non-members. Besides an Annual Meeting, activities like seminars, book launches, talks, or movie presentations are regularly held. To assist in its activities, the Learned Society welcomes bequests and gifts either monetary or in kind (unique publications, archives or photos); the latter will be entrusted to the Leiden University Library. Potential donors can contact the secretary of the Learned Society (see below).

Become a member

We welcome individuals (not institutions) to become members of the Learned Society. Please fill out a form to get your membership, membership form.


The benefits of a membership

  • Use of the KITLV collections and all other collections held at the Leiden University Library;
  • A discount of 25% on KITLV publications by Brill Publishers in cooperation with KITLV Press;
  • Purchase of Brill publications at a greatly reduced price through the MyBook program;
  • News Alert Service: the News Alert Service informs you about special acquisitions, recent publications, workshops and lectures, and other activities at the KITLV.


KITLV Publications are all the books published by Brill Academic Publishers in collaboration with KITLV. Only members of our Learned Society are able to order their books through KITLV. In addition to the usual discount on KITLV books, they will receive a 25% discount on all books published by Brill. In addition, KITLV members can order a MyBook version of KITLV books, see the information below.


Brill’s MyBook program gives members of the Learned Society the option to purchasea print-on-demand paperback copy of books of their choice. Currently Brill offers 3,000 titles in the MyBook program, but this number continuesto grow as new titles are added on a weekly basis.The program is part of Brill’s broader initiative to make its publications more accessible to the scholarly community.


MyBook is an affordable paperback copy of a Brill publication intended for personal use. MyBook is printed on demand and has a generic cover. It is not possible for non-members to acquire a MyBook and KITLV members can only acquire the cheaper books via KITLV. The current price of a MyBook is € 30.25 including tax and excluding shipping from KITLV to the customer. The members’ discount of 25% is not applicable to MyBook publications.


List MyBooka KITLV selection of available titles in the MyBook program, if you would like to know about other titles please contact KITLV.


Members may choose between a:


Membership Fees 2018

  • Including a printed edition of the Bijdragen (€65,00 per calendar year);
  • Including a printed edition of the NWIG (€45,00 per calendar year);
  • Membership without a printed journal (€33,00, per calendar year) .

Indonesian citizens residing in Indonesia can apply for membership through the KITLV Jakarta Office for a fee of Rp. 150,000 per year.

For more information, please contact Ellen Sitinjak: [email protected]

Special Acquisition Fund

Since March 2009 the Learned Society has founded a fund for special acquisitions. Unique and special purchases by KITLV for the benefit of its collections can be financed through this fund. Members of the Learned Society are welcome to make donations earmarked for this fund. Potential donors can contact the secretary of the Learned Society (see below).

Dr. Silvia W. de Groot Fund

The late Dr Silvia W. de Groot, historian and lifetime honorary member of the Learned Society, left a legacy to KITLV with the aim of financially supporting young Caribbean students or researchers, preferably of Maroon descent, with their research on Caribbean history or culture. An annual amount of € 10,000 is available to be spread over one or several applicants. The treasurer of the Learned Society is in charge of the financial management of the fund.


Deadline applications: 16 December 2014


More information (only in Dutch) …>>


Conditions (only in Dutch) …>>


Subsidy winners 2011 – 2013 (only in Dutch) …>>


Publications Silvia de Groot …>>


Biography Silvia de Groot (only in Dutch) …>>

Professor Teeuw Fund

The Professor Teeuw Foundation was launched in 1991 on the occasion of Professor Teeuw’s leave of the Indonesian Studies Programme, Leiden University. This Programme played an important role in the cooperation of Indonesian and Dutch researchers in the field of Indonesian Studies from 1975 until 1991. The initiators of the Professor Teeuw Foundation aimed at honouring Professor Teeuw for his work. The chairperson and treasurer of the Board of the Learned Society are also the chairperson and treasurer of the Professor Teeuw Fund.

Open Access Fund

The Learned Society has a fund to finance Open Access publications in the KITLV series Verhandelingen and Caribbean Series, published by Brill Publishers in cooperation with KITLV. An annual maximum amount of € 20.000 is available to be spread over several applicants. For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

The Board of the Learned Society

Prof.dr. S. Legêne (chairperson), VU University Amsterdam
Dr. J.Th. Lindblad (treasurer), Leiden University
Dr. M. Plomp (vice chairperson)
Dr. L.N.K. van Broekhoven (member), Leiden University and National Museum of Ethnology
Drs. N. Jouwe (member)
Dr. W. Modest (member), Tropenmuseum / Royal Tropical Institute
Prof.dr. G.A. Persoon (member), Leiden University


More information on our Board Members (in Dutch) …>>

The Secretary of the Learned Society may be reached by email: drs. Y. Siegers-Samaniri: [email protected].


Our Annual Meetings

Below you can found the minutes of the Annual Meetings (only available in Dutch).