An important part of the IHLIA collection is The Van Leeuwen Library. On this page you can read about this library and Van Leeuwen himself.

Who was Jaap van Leeuwen?

Shortly after the Second World War, Jacob Anton Schorer wanted to have his lost library rebuilt – to the extent possible. At his age, he no longer had the energy or the money for this task. The job was taken over by Jaap van Leeuwen, one of the founders of the Center for Culture and Leisure (COC). Even before the war, he has assisted Schorer with his collection.

Despite his genuine intention to restore the life work of Schorer to its previous glory, Van Leeuwen succeeded only partially. In addition to his efforts to build up the COC library, he also amassed a large private collection. “When I am gone, this will all go to the COC”, he stated at various occasions.

The legacy of Esquire Schorer and Van Leeuwen

When Van Leeuwen died in 1978, it emerged that matters were not properly settled. At Van Leeuwen’s deathbed, the former general secretary of the COC – Rob Tielman – was able to save the unique collection from the hands of Van Leeuwen’s family who was not so keen on his homosexuality. The collection became the foundation for the Van Leeuwen Library. The library also accommodated the book collection of the COC and the library and documentation system of the Dialoog Foundation. This collection includes the period of 1870-1970.

The Van Leeuwen Library initially occupied the premises on Keizersgracht 10. This was also the location for a number of organizations that worked in the area of libraries and documentations about women’s emancipation. In 1988 it was transferred to Homodok, the predecessor of IHLIA.

In 1996 IHLIA also obtained control of the contemporary library (books that appeared after 1970) of the COC. With integrating the Van Leeuwen Library and the COC Library with IHLIA’s own book collections, grey literature, journals, pamphlets, posters, clippings, visual materials and archives, we now have a unique homosexualia collection under one roof. Not for nothing can IHLIA call itself nowadays the heir of Schorer and Jaap van Leeuwen.