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On this page you will find an overview of the answers to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) we receive at IHLIA.

The questions are arranged by topic. So, if you click on one of these themes, you will quickly see your question and answer there.


How can I come to IHLIA?

IHLIA is located on the 3rd floor of the Amsterdam Public Library (OBA Oosterdok), Oosterdokskade 143, 1011 DL Amsterdam. Read the directions on how you can get to the OBA.

What sorts of collections does IHLIA have?

IHLIA has the largest gay and lesbian collection in Europe, with more than 210,000 titles. It has 1,415 meters of cupboard shelves that hold around 30,000 books, 5,400 magazines/journals, 8,800 videos and DVDs with movies, documentaries, TV series and commercials, 8,800 posters and 16,000 theses, brochures, academic papers and memos.

Do I have to become a member of IHLIA to peruse the collections?

No, that is not necessary. Access to the IHLIA Plaza and perusing the collections is free. On their first visit, we ask our guests to fill in a Visitors Information Form. This form can also be used for subsequent visits.

Do I have to pay for the services provided by IHLIA?

Access to the IHLIA Plaza and perusing the collections is free. Also requests for information, which are sent by email and which can be handled fast and easily, are part of our services.

Can I ask IHLIA to do research for me?

No, IHLIA is not a research institute. IHLIA’s service is primarily focused on providing information about the IHLIA collections.

Can I conduct research in IHLIA?

IHLIA is a library, archive and information center that welcomes anyone who wants to do his/her/their own research in our study hall.

What is the Pink Cabinet?

The Pink Cabinet contains books and films about LGBTI subjects. IHLIA began this project together with the Amsterdam Public Library (OBA Oosterdok), because ‘pink’ books and films – if they were already available – they were often difficult to find or simply not visible.

The first Pink Cabinet now has a place on the IHLIA Plaza in the OBA but ultimately, we would like to see this special cabinet in as many public libraries as possible in the Netherlands.

Is the collection in the Pink Cabinet the same as the collection of IHLIA?

Most of the books and DVDs in the Pink Cabinet can also be found in the IHLIA collection. The difference is that, contrary to the IHLIA collection, the collection in the Pink Cabinet can be borrowed.

My question is not included here

Send an email to or call 020-5230837

E X H I B I T I O N S / A C T I V I T I E S

Does IHLIA also organise activities?

Certainly! Follow us on our website to stay updated. In addition, you can also become friends with us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram in order to keep up with IHLIA activities.

I would like to organise something in cooperation with IHLIA. Is that possible

Yes, we are pleased to cooperate with organisations and/or individuals in the area of culture, education and science. Send your request to

Where can I see the IHLIA exhibitions?

The exhibitions can be seen on the IHLIA Plaza on the 3rd floor of the Amsterdam Public Library (OBA Oosterdok).

The exhibitions can be visited during the opening hours of the OBA (Monday to Friday: 08.00 – 22.00 / Saturday and Sunday: 10.00 – 20.00).

Does it cost anything to attend your exhibitions or the opening of an exhibition?

No. Visiting an exposition or the opening of one is free.

May I photograph the items at the exhibition?

Photographing exposition items for publication and/or commercial purposes is permitted only after consulting IHLIA. You will have to send your request at least two weeks in advance to

It is permitted to take personal photos at the IHLIA Plaza and/or to photograph archive documents for your own personal use.

Is it possible to hire an exhibition?

Yes, many current and also older exhibtions for hire. Send your request to


Which archival collections does IHLIA have? And where can I find those?

On this page you will find an overview of the archival collections. These collections are housed in the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam. You can do online searches in our archival collections via the website of IISH and our website.

To consult these archives, it is mandatory to complete the IISH consent form.

Which collections/archives does IHLIA have in digital format?

A small part of our collection is available online. Whenever you see Digital available in the location field in the online catalogue on our website, it means that you can see a digital publication.

In connection with copyrights, the rest is only accessible via the client-PCs at the IHLIA information desk on the 3rd floor. 

For this you first have to make an appointment. One of our employees will help you further. We are working diligently to make more material available online in the future.

How do I find a book at IHLIA?

Most of the books are in a separate storage area. A small number of books, mainly new study books and biographies, can be found in the book cabinets on the 3rd floor. Whenever you see “ODE3” in the location field alongside a book in the online catalogue on our website, it means that the book can be found in the cabinet on the 3rd floor and therefore, does not have to be reserved. 

Books that do not indicate “ODE3” do have to be reserved. At least 1 working day in advance. Feel free to read our working method.

NOTE: all these books can NOT be borrowed

Are the books arranged according to subjects?

The first white cabinet contains REFERENCE BOOKS, ANTHOLOGIES and BIOGRAPHIES. The second white cabinet contains STUDY BOOKS.

The books are arranged alphabetically, based on the signature code that you will find in the online catalog with the desired title(s).

How do I know whether certain books and DVDs are standing in de Pink Cabinet?

This is stated in the IHLIA online catalog with the note ‘pink cabinet’ in the location field.

In our online catalogue on the OBA website this is indicated by the note “3rd floor… PINK COLLECTION” after you have clicked on Where is it located?

Where can I search online in the IHLIA collection?

  • Via the online catalogue of IHLIA
  • Via the online catalogue of the OBA
  • Via the online catalogue of AdamNet
  • Via the online catalogue of Worldcat
  • Via the client-PCs at the IHLIA Information desk

I am looking for a newspaper from the year… Is it available in IHLIA?

IHLIA has a large archive of newspaper clippings that contains LGBT-related newspaper articles from Dutch national daily papers. Not all the newspaper articles are in our databases.

If our database contains the article that you are looking for, you may peruse it. Clippings boxes arranged according to subject and date can be reserved and perused. For this you first have to make an appointment with the staff of the IHLIA Information desk.

Starting from 2002, the clippings are saved only in digital format (text only).

I have to write a paper, can you send me information?

If you find it difficult to find information about your topic, we can help you with our reading lists.

We also make tailor-made reference lists. When requesting a bibliography, please state clearly and specifically what you are looking for (ie the subject, which language or languages, country (s), time period and, if possible, for what).

How can I search the archive of pictures?

We can help you with searching in the photo archive via the IHLIA Information desk.

IHLIA has access to the external database EBSCO LGBT Life. What can I expect from it?

This database contains indexes and summaries of articles from more than 140 important and specific LGBT magazines and journals and more than 290 important and specific LGBT books and reference books (mainly in English).

With this extensive database we have more information at our disposal and we can therefore help you much better.

Furthermore, LGBT Life has the complete texts of 55 important and what historically are considered the most significant LGBT journals/academic journals, magazines and regional newspapers, such as AdvocateGay Parent MagazineGLQ: A Journal of Lesbian & Gay Studies and ONE. In addition, it has more than 100 complete studies and books, such as Classics in Lesbian StudiesHandbook of Research with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Populations and Queer Theory & Social Change.

Besides this material, LGBT Life has also expanded its database with grey literature, including newsletters, case studies, lectures, etc. All in all, this database offers a wide range of information related to the following professional areas: LGBT rights, culture, work, family, history, politics, psychology, religion and sociology.

Unfortunately, LGBT Life is only accessible to our employees at the IHLIA information desk. It is however possible for a visitor to consult this database together with our employees.


Can I borrow the collections of IHLIA?

No, because the IHLIA collections are so rare, they cannot be lent out.

Can I borrow the collection in the Pink Cabinet?

Yes, the collection from the Pink Cabinet is available for lending via the OBA.

What is the procedure for perusing material?

First make an appointment with an information service provider. Keep in mind that there is at least 1 working day between the request and perusing the material. This way our employees have enough time to prepare everything for you. 

To view the requested material, we request the completed ‘Visitor Information Form’ as a deposit. If you already have the form, you do not need to bring proof of identity. If you have not yet completed a form, it is mandatory to bring proof of identity.

If you cannot come by at the agreed time, please let us know.  You can view a maximum of 12 items at a time.

At the IHLIA Information desk on the IHLIA plaza on the 3rd floor of the OBA you can see the videos/DVDs that you reserved. The audiovisual material can be viewed / listened to by up to 1 or 2 people at the same time. The use of headphones is mandatory. There are two headphones available that can be used simultaneously.

Am I permitted to make my own copies of books and magazines?

Yes, you can make copies yourself of the reserved material. The OBA has a number of copiers in the building. Copying and printing documents costs € 0.10 per page. It is only possible to pay with a debet card.

You will find a copier/printer in the middle of the floor, right opposite the escalator. You can pay with a credit note (starting at 5 euro) that you can purchase from the point-of-sale terminal.

Am I permitted to scan IHLIA material?

No, unfortunately, you cannot scan the material yourself. If necessary, IHLIA assistants can scan a number of pages for you from grey literature and articles. This will cost you € 0.50 per scan.

Take into account that scanning may take a few days. Unfortunately, we cannot scan books.

Can I order copies of material? Also when it’s housed in the IISH?

We can copy or scan a number of pages for you from grey literature and articles. The fee is 0.50 euro per copy. Regretfully, we cannot copy or scan complete books. Audio-visual material may not be duplicated due to copyright regulations.

For material housed in the IISH you will have to turn to them. There you can make copies of archive documents according to the rules and rates of the IISH.

I ordered copies. How can I pay?

The invoice will be sent after your application. This also states how you can pay. The order follows after payment.

Can I print myself pages from material?

Yes, you can print yourself by paying with your OBA card (if you have enough credit) or with a credit note that you can purchase from the point-of-sale terminal. You will find a printer right opposite the escalator.

Can I send publications to my email address or download these to my USB stick?

No, due to copyright regulations, you can only peruse these publications.

Exception to this are publications in which the copyright has expired and publications that indicate specific permission for copying (usually found on the last page of the publication).

Can I photograph pages from the reserved material?

Yes, you can photograph material yourself with your camera or mobile telephone.

I would like to use and/or copy audiovisual material, like videos or posters. What about copyrights?

Almost all videos / DVDs and photos / posters are copyrighted. If you want to use or copy videos/DVDs and photos/posters, you must take care of the copyrights yourself.

If the owner is known, then IHLIA can give you the contact information. In other cases, you would have to find out by yourself.

How can I support the work of IHLIA?

Become a member of Friends of IHLIA for minimum 40 euro per year. The money that we collect is among other things used for organizing projects, acquiring books and journals/magazines that IHLIA finds too expensive to buy on its own, and supporting the organization financially in other ways, whenever necessary.

How can I become a Friend of IHLIA?

For a minimum of 40 euro you can become a donor by filling in you details in the Friends of IHLIA form. You will find the form on the Friends of IHLIA page

One-time donations are also welcome.

Your gift is tax deductible. The Friends of IHLIA Foundation has the status of a non-profit organization (ANBI).

Can I do anything else for IHLIA?

You can contact us via

If you are writing your will, you should know that Friends of IHLIA is a good cause for any bequest that you might want to make.

I have found all sorts of old material when moving or clearing my house. Is IHLIA interested in this?

IHLIA will be happy to receive material that we do not have.

Is IHLIA interested in old and new clippings?

No. We only accept clippings in digital format.


Visiting address IHLIA
OBA Oosterdok
Oosterdokskade 143, 3rd floor
1011 DL Amsterdam

Tel: 020-5230837

Exhibits on the IHLIA Plaza
Free to visit every day, follow OBA opening times