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The Allard Pierson (the Collections of the University of Amsterdam) manages an internationally unique circus collection, one of the largest in Europe. The circus collection is composed of a number of collections from private individuals–such as collectors Jaap Best, KD Hartmans and Herman Linssen–and institutions–such as Theater Instituut Nederland–who have focused on collecting circus heritage. It is a living collection that is continuously supplemented with new items. Objects will continue to be digitised and made accessible in the coming years. A few highlights from the collections can be found on this website. Researchers, students and other interested parties can refer to the overview below listing what the various collections consist of and how they can be approached (see the Circus Research Guide below). In this way, all the material is traceable and accessible for research.


Circus research guide
manual for researchers

With this guide, which is aimed at researchers and students, we will guide you through the various catalogues, collections and archives over which the circus collection is distributed, to help you locate, discover and research. In this guide you can find more about:

    1. The Theatercollectie’s (Theatre Collection) catalogue
    2. Herman Linssen’s circus database
    3. The University of Amsterdam’s catalogue
    4. The Collections database and archives of the Special Collections
    5. Consultation and information
    6. Other online sources
    7. Some publications about the circus

Using the search instruction above, you can perform an extensive search in the entire circus collection, provided that the data you are looking for has been entered. Below is a simple method for searching the circus collection, with direct links to the online catalogue. For information about the origin of the Linssen and Best collections, see the ‘ORIGIN page.

Photo: research guide cover (downloads when clicked)

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