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About Erasmus Online

The Erasmus Collection of Rotterdam Public Library is one of the world's largest collections of Erasmiana, if not the largest. Apart from its own collection, the Library also owns a unique card index containing bibliographical descriptions of about 6,000 early-modern editions of Erasmus’s works. These encompass Latin texts as well as translations. Each edition is accompanied by information about the whereabouts of surviving copies worldwide. Bibliographical references are added in many cases, too.




The vault in Rotterdam Public Library's Erasmus Reading Room hosts the world's largest collection of Erasmiana printed before 1800.


The initiator of this file is Egbertus van Gulik, MA (1910–1998). Educated as a historian, he was librarian of Rotterdam Public Library from 1961 to 1973. Between 1965 and 1989 he was a member of the Conseil international pour l’édition des oeuvres complètes d’Erasme. His major work on Erasmus’s private book collection will be published posthumously by University of Toronto Press.

Starting-point for Van Gulik’s index was the “Bibliotheca Erasmiana”, a provisional repertoire of Erasmus’s works, published by Ferdinand vander Haeghen in 1893. The information on library locations and the bibliographical references basically reflect the situation as it was by 1970. Although entries have since been regularly added and updated, this was not done in a systematic or comprehensive way.

The international world of scholarship attaches great importance to this card index named after Van Gulik. It is the starting-point for any serious study of Erasmus’s works. For this reason it was decided to digitize the index and to publish it here under the name Erasmus Online, thus making it accessible worldwide. Erasmus Online offers a modern search functionality enabling complicated search actions such as: all editions of the “Praise of Folly” published between 1520 and 1530 but not in Antwerp. Over 2,000 editions include an illustration of the title page as well. Seventeen editions (including two Collected Works editions) have been digitized fully. All this makes Erasmus Online a useful tool not only for philologists and historians, for book historians, philosophers and theologians, but for booksellers and auctioneers as well.

This database is a work in progress. Since both Van Gulik’s index and Vander Haeghen’s repertoire are inexhaustive according to modern scholarly standards, their contents are continuously enlarged and updated. In the course of time a comprehensive bibliographical description of each title entry will be provided. Texts by Erasmus himself have also been made available here — Latin originals (already) as well as (in due course) translations that played an important role in the past. Erasmus Online opens up these texts in a simple way for all to use free of charge.

This digitizing project was made possible thanks to generous financial support from the foundations Erasmusstichting in Rotterdam and Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht in Rotterdam. The project has been realized in collaboration between the Erasmus Center for Early Modern Studies, Brill Publishers of Leiden and Trilobiet Internet Services in Rotterdam. Brill (IDC) initiated this project and developed the database. The application was developed by Trilobiet.

Prof. dr. J. Trapman, Conseil international pour l’édition des oeuvres complètes d’Erasme

About Trilobiet

The website and the search application have been developed by Trilobiet Internet Services.

Trilobiet builds applications opening up data collections via the Internet. Based on its expertise Trilobiet has developed internet and intranet applications as well as websites for a variety of archives and educational institutions, museums and authorities. Trilobiet Internet Services is based in Rotterdam.