The steadily growing archives collection contains at this moment nearly 600 archives of Dutch composers, performing musicians and musical institutions. Included are more than 45.000 music manuscripts mainly of Dutch composers, more than 200.000 letters, thousands of photographs, personal documents (diplomas, testimonials, diaries etc.) and audio and video materials.
Represented are such highly prominent musicians as conductor Willem Mengelberg and composers Julius Röntgen, Hendrik Andriessen, Tristan Keuris and Peter Schat. Also there are archives of institutions like the Royal Society for Music History of The Netherlands (KVNM), The Society of Dutch Composers (Geneco) and Donemus. This major source for Dutch musical historiography stretches over more than 1700 m and is still growing. It is supplemented by the large documentation collection and by literature in the library.
Most archives have been described in inventories on paper which can be consulted locally. A small but growing number of inventories is made available in digital format on this website.
Consultation of archive materials by appointment only.
Reproductions of archive materials can be ordered under certain conditions. For more information, ask our staff or send us an email.
The archives and other collections contain manucripts mainly of Dutch composers like Alphons Diepenbrock, Julius Röntgen, Johan Wagenaar, Henk Badings, but also of famous international composers like Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, Max Bruch and Edvard Grieg.
45.000 manuscripts have been made searchable online. Though we are regularly adding to these online files, not all the music manuscripts can be accessed this way. For more information, ask our staff or send an email.
Of special interest are those printed scores which contain annotations by prominent musicians. These are highly informative for a study of performance practice. The archive of Willem Mengelberg, champion of the music of Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Serge Rachmaninoff and many others, has enjoyed intense interest from famous conductors like Carlos Kleiber, Riccardo Chailly and Maris Janssons.
The numerous collections contain several hundreds of thousands of letters written by and to Dutch musicians. Thanks to their international contacts there are also letters written by famous composers like Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, Edvard Grieg, Robert and Clara Schumann, Max Reger en Arnold Schönberg. The Julius Röntgen archive, for instance, contains more than 200 letters from his friend Edvard Grieg. Of interest is also the collection created by D.F. Scheurleer, which has been supplemented after his death and contains ca 2000 letters by musicians from the period 1800-1940.
You may find descriptions of ca 37.000 letters online. Most of the correspondence however is only accessible through local files.
The photographic collection contains more than 12.000 historical photographs of Dutch and international musicians, from the early days of photography till the present, and often with autograph dedications. The collection can be accessed through our staff. Besides photographs, the collection contains numerous prints, posters, drawings and paintings.
Audio recordings in the NMI archives are mainly of Dutch music and/or musicians. These include gramophone records, broadcast transcription records, magnetic tapes and digital recordings. Many of these materials are part of the legacies of Dutch musicians and are unique items. An example of special importance is the so-called Hardie Collection of 78 rpm gramophone recordings of conductor Willem Mengelberg. At this moment access to the audio materials is limited.