The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut néerlandais du Proche-Orient

De Liagre Böhl collection

NINO is the owner of approximately 3000 cuneiform tablets of Sumerian and Babylonian/Assyrian origin, the largest collection of its kind in The Netherlands. The collection was brought together in the 1920s and ‘30s by F.M.Th. de Liagre Böhl, Professor of Assyriology at Leiden University and Co-Director of NINO 1939-1955. Diverse text genres are present in the tablet collection: literary texts, omens, incantations, archival texts etc. In addition to the tablets, the collection includes a smaller number of seals, bullae, terracottas and other objects.

The tablets are being transcribed, translated, and published in order to make them available for scholars and students. The NINO series Tabulae... Liagre Böhl (TLB) and Studia... Liagre Böhl (SLB) are publications and studies of (groups of) tablets in the collection. More unpublished information on the collection is kept in the Institute.

A number of highlights from the collection are on permanent view in the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden. Objects on loan from NINO can be found in the Collection Viewer on the Museum’s website.

In 2014-’15 our jubilee exhibition “75 jaar NINO” at the Museum featured more highlights from the collection.

Access to the collection

Physical access

Scholars who wish to study objects in the Böhl Collection: please refer to our Rules for access to the Böhl Collection (pdf) and contact Dr W. Waal

In 2018-2019 a catalogue database of all clay tables in the Böhl Collection was created and largely completed by Dr Jeanette Fincke. In collaboration with RMO, specialized restorer Carmen Gütschow (Berlin) is treating all tablets in need of stabilisation and restoration.

Leiden University is currrently realizing a new Humanities Campus on and around the Witte Singel. As part of this project, NINO and its collections will move to new premises in 2024, together with Leiden University’s academic staff in the relevant fields. As part of the NINO research centre, the Böhl Collection will be rehoused in a location with suitable conservation conditions, where it will remain accessible to scholars and students.

Digital access: CDLI

The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative has digitised the larger part of our Böhl Collection. In 2022/2023, all cuneiform texts in the Böhl Collection (including cylinder seals) will be completely included in CDLI. Smaller public collections of cuneiform collections in the Netherlands – notably RMO – are added to CDLI at the same time.

View all tablets and seals (2,352 items) of the Böhl Collection in CDLI – or visit the CDLI page on the Böhl Collection.