The Ritman Library


Goddelijke Wijsheid – Goddelijke Natuur

Exhibition ‘Goddelijke Wijsheid – Goddelijke Natuur’ (Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature) in the Ritman Library Anniversary exhibition opening on 11 September 2015 The travelling exhibition ‘Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature’, celebrating 400 years of Rosicrucian Manifestoes which first opened in Germany in September last year and was shown in Switzerland […]


In memory of Dr. Ekaterina Genieva

IN MEMORY OF DR. EKATERINA GENIEVA It is with profound regret that the founder, board, director and staff of The Ritman Library learned about the passing of Dr. Ekaterina Genieva, Director General of the Margarita Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, on 9 July 2015 at the age of 69. The […]


Summertime Walk 2015 – Jordaan (Amsterdam) 1

Summertime Walk 2015 – Jordaan (Amsterdam) 02-07-2015 – 30-08-2015 The Summertime Walk 2015 is a new tour specially designed by the Multatuli House, the Pianola Museum, the Theo Thijssen Museum and The Ritman Library. You will discover some of the hidden gems of Amsterdam’s Jordaan district, including a few special museums, devoted […]


Review ‘Master of Change: Images of Hermes Trismegistus’ by Joe Walsh 2

Exhibition: MASTER OF CHANGE: IMAGES OF HERMES TRISMEGISTUS A review by Joe Walsh This is an exhibit worth traveling to see. From its renowned collection of books and materials, The Ritman Library has assembled a display that clearly and comprehensively opens up the fascinating development of Hermes as founder and […]


Modern approaches to the Hermetica

Modern approaches to the Hermetica The message of the Hermetica can be studied from a historical perspective but can also be implemented in modern life. Robert Anderson Plimer is a modern-day Hermeticist and Alchemist who offers courses in alchemy and the Hermetica. Students have the opportunity to discuss and debate […]


The Black Madonna, Gilles Quispel’s old love

Annine van der Meer was a student of the late Professor Gilles Quispel and presented her PhD thesis “Op zoek naar loutering. Oorsprong en ontwikkeling van de enkratitische ascese tot het begin van de 13e eeuw n.Chr.” under his supervision in 1989. Having since grown into a specialist in the […]


The Emerald Tablet

THE EMERALD TABLET Recently acquired by The Ritman Library: The Emerald Tablet one of the root texts of alchemy is a brief alchemical work attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Historically the work is part of the Hermetic corpus and seems to have the same origins as the rest of the Corpus […]


“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Book launch

Book launch Hans Siepel’s Openbaring: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” On Wednesday afternoon, 22 April, a special event took place in the library when communications advisor and former public official Hans Siepel presented his new book Openbaring (‘Revelation’) to an invited audience. Director Esther Ritman opened […]


A tribute to Jacob Böhme: Morgenröte im Aufgang 1

A tribute to Jacob Böhme: Morgenröte im Aufgang (Aurora or Dayspring) Jacob Böhme is undeniably something of a miracle in the history of mankind, particularly in the history of German thought. Jacob Böhme (1575-1624), the shoemaker and visionary of Görlitz, is the least known, most mysterious and at the same time […]


Divine wisdom to inspire individuals and society – book presentation

Hans Siepel’s new book Revelation Divine wisdom to inspire individuals and society Hans Siepel (1958) studied political science and held several communication positions in the course of his career, including the Netherlands Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, which gave him the excellent opportunity to study the socio-political fabric […]


Review of the exhibition ‘Master of Change: Images of Hermes Trismegistus’ (Spanish) 1

MASTER OF CHANGE: IMAGES OF HERMES TRISMEGISTUS. Reseña de la exposición en la Ritman Library. El inicio de este viaje comienza en Ámsterdam, ciudad a la que se asiste siguiendo la pista al siempre presente Hermes. Manifestándose, esta vez, mediante una exhibición temporal en una de las mayores bibliotecas herméticas […]


Where more is meant: Alchemical Imagery in Milton’s “Il Penseroso”

WHERE MORE IS MEANT: ALCHEMICAL IMAGERY IN MILTON’S “IL PENSEROSO” by Joanna Gardner On the surface, John Milton’s poem “Il Penseroso” seems to be a lighthearted work of mythopoesis, addressing an invented goddess named Melancholy who presides over the inward-looking preoccupations of the contemplative life. However, the poem includes an […]


GNOSTIKA: Göttliche Weisheit – Göttliche Natur

ROSENKREUZER-Themen stehen auf unseren heutigen GNOSTIKA-Rundgang im Fordergrund. Das wundert nicht, denn 2014 jährt sich zum 400ten Mal die Wiederkehr des Erscheinens der ersten Rosenkreuzermanifeste. 1614-1616 tauchten Schlag auf Schlag die Fama Fraternitatis, die Confessio Fraternitatis sowie die Chymische Hochzeit wie aus dem Nichts auf und sorgten für Furore und […]


Exhibition: Master of Change: Images of Hermes Trismegistus 2

Master of Change: Images of Hermes Trismegistus The new exhibition opening in The Ritman Library on January 6th 2015 presents the iconography as it has developed around Hermes Trismegistus and the attributes that can be associated with him, such as the armillary sphere, the Tabula smaragdina, the ouroboros and the […]


Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica: named after Hermes Trismegistus

Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica: named after Hermes Trismegistus The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica is named after Hermes Trismegistus, the oriental sage to whom astrological, alchemical, magical, medical, philosophical and religious works were attributed. Not only does the library collect Hermetic works and works belonging to the Hermetic tradition, its own publishing house […]


Ritman family treats the neighbourhood to a fabulous display, 15 Years of Fireworks on Amsterdam’s Bloemgracht

Ritman family treats the neighbourhood to a fabulous display, 15 Years of Fireworks on Amsterdam’s Bloemgracht [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGLOyH5wCyM[/youtube] This New Year’s Eve the bridge at the junction of Bloemgracht and Prinsengracht is again the scene of a thunderous, spectacular and by now traditional fireworks show, Joost Ritman’s annual treat to the […]


Rosicrucian quadricentenary at the BPH – Heterodoxology.com

The anniversary publication “Divine Wisdom Divine Nature” brought out by the Ritman Library to celebrate four hundred years of Rosicrucian Manifestoes was recently discussed by Egil Asprem on his excellent Heterodoxology blog. Rosicrucian quadricentennary at the BPH This spring marked four hundred years since the publication of the first Rosicrucian […]


Starting soon: courses in the stuff The Ritman Library is made of 2

Starting soon: courses in the stuff The Ritman Library is made of Would you like to know more about the ideas and symbols related to The Ritman Library’s collection or become familiar with their history? This is possible in weekly get-togethers starting soon in Amsterdam, Utrecht and a few other […]


White Radiance

De Ketelfactory, Schiedam, January 12th 2014 Last month, Esther Ritman, director and librarian of The Ritman Library, spoke with three artists – Bernadet ten Hove (1957), Frank Sciarone (1951) and Ton Mars (1950) – about their work in De Ketelfactory in Schiedam. Below is a selection of the fragments which Esther […]


Via Lucis – Comenius in our Time 2

On Friday 4 October members of the Comenius Gesellschaft were the guests of The Ritman Library. They were first made welcome in the Huis met de Hoofden by Esther and Joost R. Ritman. The visit was part of the programme of the international Comenius Conference 2013, ‘Keys to the thoughts of Comenius […]


Exhibition – ‘Beauty as the Imprint of the cosmos’ 9

‘Beauty as the Imprint of the cosmos’: the metaphysical in art An exhibition of drawings, graphic art and printed books  25 September 2013 – 23 May 2014 Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Amsterdam ‘Beauty is the imprint of the cosmos … in a physical earthly being’, is a statement by Rudolf Steiner* […]


Current Research: Palombara and the Porta Magica in Rome

Maria Fiammetta Iovine is researching that enigmatic and enthralling remaining monument of the villa of Massimiliano Palombara, marquis of Pietraforte (1614-1685), as she informed The Ritman Library when she paid a visit in March this year. Her email address is added below for anyone wishing to contact her on her […]


Celebrating the Dutch Gnosis scholar Gilles Quispel 3

Today is the birthday of the Dutch Gnosis scholar Gilles Quispel, who was born on 30 May 1916. He was instrumental in advancing the study of Gnosis, both in the Netherlands and, through his vast international academic network, also abroad. An uneventful and predictable academic career would not have suited […]


Dan Brown’s Inferno, A Journey to Dante’s Hell

Yesterday Dan Brown’s latest novel was launched worldwide: Inferno, a title alluding to Dante’s La Divina Commedia. The Ritman Library was there when the Dutch translation was presented to an expectant public, early in the morning at seven a.m. in the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Waiting room at Amsterdam’s Central Station. […]


Early Modern Medical “Discoveries”: New Remedies and Chemical Analysis

From the late 16th century through the 18th century, one of the chief reasons for Europeans to sail overseas on voyages of discovery–from Columbus and Da Gama to Flinders and Behring—was the hope of finding sources of wealth. Getting to the source of the spice trade was one of the […]


Opening Speech Esther Ritman – Exhibition A Curious Tsar: Peter the Great 1

Most honoured guests from Russia, Mikhail Piotrovsky, director general of the State Hermitage Museum St.-Petersburg, Ekaterina Genieva, director general of the Rudomino All Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Alexander Petrov, executive director of the Rudomino Library, Yuri Chistov, director of the Kunstkamera St. Petersburg, Sergey Korostelev, member of council […]


The Ritman Library live in ‘Streets of Amsterdam’ 1

  Lights, camera, action – welcome to The Ritman Library! On Thursday 7 February 2013 ‘Straten van Amsterdam’ (Streets of Amsterdam), a television programme broadcast by the Amsterdam broadcasting company AT5, visited the Bloemstraat and The Ritman Library. Anchorwoman Gülden Ilmaz talked to Joost and Esther Ritman in a fascinating […]


Infinite Fire Webinar IV – The Revival of Platonic Orientalism 2

Infinite Fire Webinar IV – The Revival of Platonic Orientalism Welcome to Prof.dr. Wouter J. Hanegraaff’s first webinar in the Infinite Fire series, devoted to “The Revival of Platonic Orientalism”. Hanegraaff explains that the Hermetic philosophy of the Renaissance was part of a larger development that has had an enormous […]


Who was Ali Puli? 8

  It is now thirty years ago that I saw him for the first time, talking to Hayy Ibn Yaqzan. The two philosophers were discussing the Sal Naturae Concentratum, one of the many names for the Philosopher’s Stone. The philosophical talks were created by Willem van Swaanenburg (1679-1728), a journalist […]


Upcoming: a special exhibition ‘A curious Tsar: Peter the Great’ 1

A curious Tsar: Peter the Great and discovering nature’s secrets in Amsterdam Presenting: a special exhibition in The Ritman Library. Remarkable, intriguing and above all curious. ‘A curious Tsar: Peter the Great and discovering nature’s secrets in Amsterdam‘ shows printed works and engravings highlighting this extraordinary Tsar and the Scotsman Robert […]


Introducing the second Infinite Fire Webinar host: Wouter J. Hanegraaff

Introducing the second Infinite Fire Webinar host: Wouter J. Hanegraaff With the Infinite Fire Webinar Series, the Ritman Library and the Center for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (GHF) of the University of Amsterdam have joined forces and are planting the seed for a Scholarly Hermetic Circle. […]


Lawrence Principe takes Basilius Valentinus to the laboratory 2

The current exhibition in the BPH, Alchemy on the Amstel, shows a number of works by Basil Valentine, and to some extent traces the influence of the writings that appeared under this wonderfully named adept. I have noticed that Professor Lawrence Principe in his latest book ‘The Secrets of Alchemy’, […]


Picturing the Triumphant Chariot of Antimony

Picturing the Triumphant Chariot of Antimony In 1604 the first edition of Basilius Valentinus’ Triumph-Wagen Antimonii appeared, a panegyric on the medicinal use of the semi-metal antimony, with clear alchemical recipes included. The Triumph-Wagen Antimonii was the first of eight works in this edition, and was followed by: Von der […]


Infinite Fire Webinar III – Monas Hieroglyphica 9

Welcome to dr. Peter J. Forshaw’s third webinar in the Infinite Fire series. Today he introduces the early modern mathematician, natural philosopher and magus, John Dee (1527-1608/9), another significant figure in the history of science, esotericism and Hermetic Philosophy. Dee is a fascinating example of a thinker deeply engaged with both orthodox and unorthodox […]


Guided Tour Alchemy on the Amstel 13-12-2012 1

Guided Tour Alchemy on the Amstel 13-12-2012 On 13 December 2012 the students of Peter Forshaw’s Alchemy Class were given a guided tour of the current exhibition Alchemy on the Amstel by curator Cis van Heertum and were then taken up to the ‘holy of holies’ to see highlights of […]


Fireworks show: New year’s message of J.R. Ritman 2

Fireworks show: New year’s message of J.R. Ritman Watch the New Year’s Message by the founder of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Joost R. Ritman, and images of the fireworks show offered by The Ritman Library on Bloemgracht bridge at the foot of the Westertoren in Amsterdam every New Year’s Eve. […]


The Ritman Library one year after reopening 4

The Ritman Library one year after reopening Exactly twelve months after the festive reopening of The Ritman Library we are looking back with great satisfaction to a very dynamic and productive year in which we were able to launch a great many new projects. To ensure the continuity of the […]


Special Event – Alchemy on the Amstel – 19 november 2012

Alchemy on the Amstel meets Leyden’s Luxuriance and the Bibliotheca Pharmacia. On 19 November some 65 people attended an afternoon devoted to 3 related exhibitions currently showing in Leiden and in Amsterdam. Ritman Library director & librarian Esther Oosterwijk-Ritman, who introduced the afternoon’s speakers, emphasized what she said in her […]


A look behind the logo of Alchemy on the Amstel

The logo of Alchemy on the Amstel comes from a manuscript called the Tractatus artis notoriae et expositiones eius quas Apollonius flores aureos appellavit, and it’s magic! Although the manuscript was written in the middle of the 17th century, the work itself is one of the pseudo-Solomonic magical works that […]


Alchemy on the Amstel in the press

De Echo, 28 November 2012 Translation of an article by Hans Tulleners which earlier appeared in De Echo, a local Dutch newspaper. Some libraries – the chronicler has been taking a close look at yet another library – come into existence in rather special ways. Take the story of businessman […]


Early Scientists Vindicated – Het Parool 25/10/12

The Ritman Library: ‘Alchemy on the Amstel’ exhibition. Early scientists vindicated Amsterdam boasted scores of alchemical laboratories in the 17th century. The Ritman Library is devoting an exhibition on the subject. An article by Henk Schutten | Het Parool, Thursday October 25, 2012. How successful they really were, the alchemists of the […]


Hermeticism – key to universal knowledge 3

  Translation of Joost R. Ritman’s response to the laudatio delivered by prof. dr. Maria A. Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, chairwoman of the Arts Department of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, on being awarded the Academy’s Silver Medal on 13 May 2002. “Honourable chairman, governors, and members of […]


Jean Mallinger, Les secrets esotériques dans Plutarque, Paris and Brussels, 1946

The Ritman Library recently acquired the first – and only, according to Worldcat – edition of Les secrets esotériques dans Plutarque by Jean Mallinger (1904-1982), who was ‘Avocat près la cour d’appel de Bruxelles’, lawyer at the Court of Appeal in Brussels, as appears from the cover of this and another work by him […]


Western Esotericism. A guide for the Perplexed. Wouter J. Hanegraaff

Western esotericism has been a pervasive presence in Western culture from late antiquity to the present day, but until recently it was largely ignored by scholars and surrounded by misconceptions and prejudice. This accessible guide provides readers with the basic knowledge and tools that will allow them to find their […]


An extremely rare Amsterdam edition

Julius Sperber, Kabalisticae praecationes, das ist ausserlesene schöne Gebet, aus des Autoris lateinischem Exemplar ins Teutsche versetzt. Amsterdam, ‘für gute Freunde’ [s.n.], 1707 Although Julius Sperber (ca. 1540-1616) wrote works with a theological and mystical slant he was not a professional theologian: he acted as physician and counsellor to the […]