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Personal archive of Christiaan Huygens online

The personal archive of Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), one of the University's top collections, is digitised and available as an online publication: Codices Hugeniani Online.

Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695)
Huygens was a prominent Dutch mathematician, astronomer and physicist. Recently he was voted the greatest Dutch scholar of all times. He published major studies on mechanics and optics, and a pioneer work on games of chance. He is most famous for his discovery of the rings of Saturn and its moon Titan, and for inventing the pendulum clock. His notes on these discoveries and inventions can be found in his archive, kept at Leiden University Library.

Codices Hugeniani
Huygens’s archive, also known  as the Codices Hugeniani, has been an object of research for many scholars for over three centuries. Shortly before his death in 1695 Huygens bequeathed a large part of his scholarly papers to Leiden University Library. After 1800, the legacy was further enriched by manuscripts and letters from family property. In total the archive comprises over 50 codices: notebooks and folders containing texts in the field of astronomy, mechanics, mathematics and music, as well as correspondence and annotated books.

Online access to the archive
Students and staff within Leiden University (that is, holders of a ULCN account) have free access to the online archive through the online catalogue and BrillOnline Primary Sources.  Other users are requested to contact Brill for access. The platform comprises a range of other digital heritage collections, including two selections from the UBL's extensive Oriental collection and the Codices Vossiani Latini, the result of previous collaborations with Brill.

Marti Huetink, Publishing Director at Brill: “Christiaan Huygens is probably internationally the best known Dutch scientist ever. Brill is proud to be able to publish his papers online, and to contribute to the study of his life and works.”

Mart van Duijn, Curator of Western Manuscripts and Archives of Leiden University Libraries: “Codices Hugeniani Online is not only a great tool for researchers because of the different search options it offers, it is also a treasure trove of magnificent documents and drawings of the discoveries and inventions made by Christiaan Huygens.”