By making its collections accessible to the public, offering expertise and organizing activities, the NMI presents itself as the central depository and research centre for heritage in the field of classical music in general and in the Netherlands especially.
History of the collection
The Netherlands Music Institute was created by the merging of three important musical manuscript and print collections: the music archives and library of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, and the documentary collection of the Musica Neerlandica Foundation.
The Netherlands Music Institute Foundation was created in 1999. The collections have moved to their present location in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library) in December 2000. Since 2006 the institute is an independent organisation, receiving individual subsidy from the municipality of The Hague. In that same year the NMI was designated sector institute for musical heritage by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, which also subsidises the NMI.
The music library was originally created by the Hague banker, collector and music historian Daniël François Scheurleer (1855-1927). A few years after his death his library and collections of musical instruments and iconography were acquired by the city of The Hague and accommodated in the Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum). The first music curator Dirk Balfoort (1886-1964) set out to collect musical archives (especially composers' archives).
Violinist Willem Noske (1918-1995) developed a passion for Dutch music history which was stimulated by Balfoort. During several decades he gathered a large number of prints of Dutch music as well as documentation materials, mainly from the period 1850-1950. The NMI is also home to his important collection of violin music.