Jesuit collection

The Jesuit collection is Maastricht University’s most important special collection. It includes about 265,000 volumes, mainly in the fields of theology, philosophy, history, literature, law and social sciences (sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics). In that sense it is a broad classics collection which provides jumping-off points for research and teaching activities of many Maastricht University faculties.

Within this collection you can find interesting subsets, e.g. a Nazi collection, a Prize volume collection, a Catholic journals collection and a collection from the Missiological Institute. Many of these subsets have not yet been properly delineated, and thus can only be found by searching for their contents in the catalogue.

The oldest books date back to the beginning of the 16th century, the most recent to the 1970s. Bought by the Dutch government in 1973 to serve as the university’s basic collection (then called Rijksuniversiteit Limburg), the collection came from the two former Jesuit colleges (the theological faculty Canisianum in Maastricht and the philosophical faculty Berchmanianum in Nijmegen) and the former large seminary Warmond. In the 1980s, some smaller subsets were added.


At present (mid 2008) about 90% of this collection is included in the library catalogue.

Borrowing and consulting

  • You can borrow books from the Jesuit collection at the Inner City Library information desk (ground floor). 

    Literature from before 1900, valuable books from after 1900 and those in poor condition cannot be borrowed, but can be consulted in the precious books reading room. To borrow and consult resources you need a UM card. You can also buy a library reference card.

  • Part of our Jesuit collection (mainly theology) has been moved to the library of the theology department of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven  , the Maurits Sabbebibliotheek   (GBIB). This library has the collection on loan for educational and research purposes.

    Employees, students and non-university library members who wish to consult books from this collection have a choice to either have the books sent to Maastricht or go to Leuven themselves.

    If you choose to have the books sent to Maastricht you need to contact the information desk of the Inner City Library, or send an email to ub-documentlevering.

    If you choose to go to Leuven it is your responsibility to check opening hours, membership and the availability of the publication. For more information: Maurits Sabbebibliotheek  .


Inner City Library, Grote Looiersstraat 17
T +31 43 388 5004

Digital Jesuit collection

The first book from the Jesuit collection was digitalised retrospectively: Boek der uitvindingen  , 2nd edition (Leiden, 1863). This book gives insight in the state of science and technology, and how broad sections of the population saw these during the second half of the 19th century. The digital version of this book is one of the results of the library project 'from print to digital'.

There is also a digital version of the original, handwritten catalogue of the Jesuit collection from 1773 (Catalogus Librorum Bibliotheca Collegii Trajectensis ad Mosam Societas Jesu  ), which can be found in the closed stacks at the Regional Historic Center Limburg in Maastricht (Sint Pieterstraat 7).