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30 Prinsessegracht
Den Haag, ZH, 2514 AP

Museum Meermanno | Huis van het boek (vroeger Meermanno-Westreenianum) is het oudste boekenmuseum ter wereld. Het is gevestigd in het voormalige woonhuis van de stichter van het museum Willem Hendrik Jacob baron van Westreenen van Tiellandt (1783-1848) aan de Prinsessegracht in Den Haag en richt zich op het geschreven en gedrukte boek in al zijn vormen, in heden en verleden. De ontwikkeling van de vormgeving van zowel oude als moderne boeken staat daarbij centraal.

The sports book

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Exhibition ‘The Sports book.  The best sport stories’

From 12 November 2016 through 5 February 2017 at Museum Meermanno

The exhibition ‘The sports book. The best sport stories’ illustrates the history of Dutch sports by means of hundreds of publications from the collections of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) and objects from the collection of NOC*NSF (Netherlands Olympic Committee*Netherlands Sports Confederation). Of course there are lots of books on view, but there are also some other very special objects.  Joop Zoetemelk´s bicycle and Sjoukje Dijkstra´s ice skates.  Even the judo suit of sports legend Anton Geesink is on display.

With nearly 35,000 titles, the KB´s collection of books on chess and draughts is the second largest in the world and contains masterpieces from the fifteenth century up to the present. The visitor can also play a game of chess on a beautiful chess table based on a design by the Russian artist Alexander Rodchenko.


A medieval manuscript showing people playing golf

The origins of modern forms of sport can be seen in figures playing golf in a medieval manuscript, a game of sixteenth century tennis and impressive books for seventeenth century fencing schools.

Since the nineteenth century sport has become increasingly ‘the most important sideline’.  Countless books of regulations and manuals appear.  The well-known brand of cigarettes Van Nelle provides pocketbooks to keep track of the results of football matches and jubilee publications for clubs at all levels show the pride in one’s favourite team.

Excitement and danger

Young people learn about fair play and friendship through exciting children’s books such as the classic De AFC’ers which also shows the beauty of sport, in this case football.

That not everyone was so enthusiastic about the increasing popularity of sporting activities can be seen in fiery brochures in which sport is compared to a ‘contagious disease’.

Thibaut, Acedemie de l'espee, spread, web.jpg


Sport is nothing without its heroes:  the whole country gets involved with the athletes participating in major events such as the Olympic Games, World Cup football or the Elfstedentocht.

They make the difference with that one second or that one goal between eternal glory or complete dejection.  Hundreds of picture books, biographies, comic strips and magazines pay tribute to the stars of the sports arena

This is the third major exhibition in a row organized by the KB together with Museum Meermanno | Huis van het boek following the exhibitions about bird books (2014) and cook books (2015).  See also:

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