Jesuit collection
Promotional film
Jesuit collection

Promotional film Jesuit collection

In 1993, Maastricht University released a promotional film about the Jesuit collection. At the time, it was still a so-called audiovisual production, which was subsequently recorded on video. And digitized even later, commissioned by the Academic Heritage Project Group. However, its topicality has remained more or less the same. That is why we wish to draw your attention to this film once more. 

The video shows the value of the collection in the light of the university’s development. A wide range of humanities could be useful for a basis of a full-fledged university library. Jesuits were well known for their intellectual interest. During the library’s purchase, it was assumed that after the establishment of a medical faculty, other faculties would follow soon.

In particular, the video shows missiological issues and travel books. The often visually appealing books stimulate curiosity for other countries, for "other" people and cultures. The Jesuit collection was and is the most important special collection of the Maastricht University Library. It comprises around 265,000 volumes, mainly in the fields of theology, philosophy, history, literature, law and various social sciences (sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics). Within this collection, there are interesting subsets, such as a collection of National Socialism, a price band collection, a collection of Catholic journals and the collection of the Missiological Institute. The oldest books date from the beginning of the sixteenth century, the most recent from the seventies of the previous century.

The collection comes from two former Jesuit schools (the theological faculty Canisianum in Maastricht and the philosophical faculty Berchmanianum in Nijmegen) and the former Grootseminarie Warmond. It was purchased by the government in 1973 together with the monastery building. In the course of the 1980s a number of smaller sub-collections were added. Moreover, the university decided to move into the Jesuit Monastery at Tongersestraat 53, the large building was vacant as a result of the secularization.

Just a time jump. In 1993, Maastricht University had owned the collection for more than 20 years. But after the purchase, nobody really cared about it. Only, with the arrival of the Faculty of Law, in 1982, the collection was "discovered" again. A number of lawyers, in particular René de Groot (1951), professor of comparative law and international private law since 1988, played a decisive role in this rediscovery. They took care of the preservation of this extraordinary collection for this university.

Guy Jaegers & Annemieke Klijn

© 2022 Art and Heritage Commission, Maastricht University