Want to browse our collections? Visit lib.ugent.be


Ghent University Library collection

The library comprises the Boekentoren and network of faculty libraries. It provides access to published academic research for the academic community, whilst the Boekentoren is also a depository library that houses extensive and significant heritage collections.

Explore the Heritage Collections

The Boekentoren manages one of the largest heritage collections in the Low Countries.


The Boekentoren holds more than six thousand manuscripts, from precious illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages to single-edition typescripts from the twentieth century. Almost two thousand manuscripts can be consulted online.

Newspapers and magazines

Besides countless iconic periodicals, the heritage collection contains a wealth of material - from the oldest Dutch newspapers to student almanacs, colonial press and front pages.


The 'Section Gantoise' was established in 1872. It is an active collection containing pieces related to Ghent: the Gandavensia. Manuscripts, prints, iconographic pieces and complete private collections constitute the paper memory of the city.


'Prints' includes the collection items that were published by means of the printing press. We make a distinction between 'old' editions and 'modern' editions (after 1830). The Boekentoren houses 701 incunabula and more than two million modern editions.


The Gallery contains all collection profiles with museum appeal. These are pieces with iconographic value such prints, photographs, drawings, paintings, plans, posters, porcelain cards, numismatic items and maps.


Ephemera, papers, pièces volantes. Collected intensively by head librarian Ferdinand vander Haeghen, the Ghent collection of loose-leaf pages forms an impressive, alphabetically arranged collection of miscellanea that document everyday life in times past like no other.


Since its foundation in 1797, the university library has attracted numerous archival donations because of its cultural role in city life. As a result, the Boekentoren has amassed hundreds of archives of artists, professors and cultural associations.

View all collections

Explore the collections online

The library collections are searchable via lib.ugent.be where you can consult documents online, request a scan or have items set aside for collection.

E-books and e-journals

Many books and magazines have been published (only) digitally for decades. Some 500,000 e-book titles are available via the lib.ugent.be catalogue. The University Library subscribes to numerous major scientific journals, resulting in more than 150,000 unique journal titles in the lib.ugent.be catalogue. Browse Ghent University Library's online selection of journals via BrowZine.

Library scanning studio

Every day, Boekentoren staff get down to work in the scanning studio. Because not all volumes of academic journals are available online, UGent students and staff can have articles digitised on request. In addition, high-quality scans of other works housed in the Boekentoren can also be requested.

Google Books

Since 2007, Google has digitised more than 250,000 books older than 1870 from the collection of the Boekentoren. As one of the largest libraries in Belgium, Ghent University Library was the first Belgian library to join the Google Books project. We followed in the footsteps of Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University... Through the cooperation, books in Dutch, French, German, Latin, etc. have been added to the programme that includes both popular classics and rare and special collections that could previously only be consulted in the library itself.

Digitisation via external partners

To make Ghent University Library's extensive collection available online for research, the library has received assistance from various partners. Since 2014, meemoo, the Flemish Institute for Archives, has been digitising some 6,000 audiovisual carriers from the collection. These include ¼ inch audiotapes, VHS cassettes, lacquer plates, wax rolls and film celluloid. Additionally, 16,000 newspapers dating from the First World War were given a digital life by meemoo in 'News from the Great War'.

Born-digital collections

The University Library has been receiving more and more born-digital archives and collections of professors, artists and Ghent residents. The diverse material is currently stored on hard disks and/or computers. The Boekentoren is working on ways to make this material accessible for further research.

Ghent University Library collection

The library collections can be searched via lib.ugent.be where you can consult documents online, request a scan or have items put aside for collection.

Digital collections

Boekentoren Library

Rozier 9, 9000 Ghent

Open every weekday

Study area and check-out desk

Monday - Thursday: 8 am - 8 pm
Friday: 8 am - 5 pm

Information point

8 am - 5 pm

Reading room special collections

9 am - 5 pm

Towers of Books

Ghent University Library 1797-2020

Ruben Mantels has captured the history of the Boekentoren in a beautifully designed book about Ghent University Library and Henry van de Velde's extraordinary tower.

Towers of Books
is published by Hannibal Books in collaboration with Sylvia Van Peteghem, the first female head librarian of Ghent University Library.