NMVW Collections & Library

The collection of the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen contains nearly 450,000 objects and 260,000 photographic images that are part of the state or municipality collections, and another 350.000 images of documentary value.

Online collections database

Only a small part of the collection is on display in the museum galleries. The online collection database is host to the collection of the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (Tropenmuseum, Afrika Museum, Museum Volkenkunde and Wereldmuseum). The online collection database enables you to browse a growing part of the collection, including that which is stored behind the scenes. For this presentation, the collection has been subdivided in objects and photographic collections, and has been linked to constituents, exhibitions, expeditions and themes.

For questions about the collections or a request to visit the storage, contact


To order photographs of our collection you can create an account and place the preferred photographs in your shopping basket:​ If you have questions about ordering photographs, usage of photographs, credit lines, etc. please contact the collections department.

Loan requests

Loan requests must be submitted a minimum of six months before the start of the exhibition period. For detailed information, loan fees and general conditions, please refer to the Info sheet Loan Requests and Conditions of Loan.

For more information about the procedure, please contact


Dear visitor to the library,

Until further notice, the following rules apply to every visit to the library:

  • Your visit is only possible by appointment during opening hours of the library: Tuesday to Friday, 1 pm - 5 pm.
  • We ask you to provide us in advance by e-mail with all necessary information, such as time, date, purpose and expected duration of your visit. You must also include your phone number.
  • As always, we would also like to know in advance which publications - books, magazines, etc. - you wish to consult.

For more information about the library, please contact

Opening hours library
13.00 - 17.00 pm
Tuesday - Friday

Object consultation

Do you have questions about an object that is in your possession? Does the object come from a region that is represented in the Tropenmuseum, Afrika Museum or Museum Volkenkunde? Perhaps one of our curators can help you to learn more about this object.

The curators can answer questions such as 'What is it exactly?', 'Where does it come from?', 'Is it authentic or fake?' and 'How old is it?'. Please note that the curators will not make valuations of objects.

First Thursday of the month
Object consultation takes place every first Thursday of the month (with the exception of the holiday period), between 12.00 and 13.00, in Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. More information is available on the website of Museum Volkenkunde.

Ask your question online
You can also ask a question to the curator online by filling in this form below. This way we can handle the question properly as all applications are sorted centrally and forwarded to the curator in question. If you need any assistance with filling in the online form, please contact the curatorial department.

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2 MB limit.
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