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Arnold Heertje collection

Identifier: UBA736

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises books and pamphlets on the history of economics from circa 1600 to circa 1990. All major currents are represented, such as mercantilism (featuring authors like Thomas Mun, John Cary and Josiah Child), physiocracy (François Quesnay and Victor Mirabeau) and classical economics (Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Jean-Baptiste Say). The pamphlets mainly relate to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century debates on financial and monetary issues.

The collection, which is known as the ‘Heertje Library’, is of major historical and economic importance and contains numerous works in rare first editions or containing notes by the author or other prominent scientists. The collection is very complete, and has many works in several editions. A few examples: the first edition of Friedrich von Hayek’s Road to Serfdom (1944) signed by the author, a copy of Malthus’ Treatise on Population (1798) annotated by Adam Smith, a rare first edition of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees (1714), Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (1776), David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy (1817), Edgeworth’s Mathematical Physics (1881), Thomas Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) and the first edition of Karl Marx’ Das Kapital, printed in Hamburg in 1867. The collection additionally holds first editions of all major economists and political philosophers such as Bentham, Clark, Condorcet, Cournot, Engels, Fisher, Hicks, Hume, Jevons, Keynes, Locke, Marshall, Mill, Pareto, Pierson, Pigou, Schumpeter, Stackelberg, Tinbergen, Veblen and Walras.


  • 1561-ca. 1990
  • Majority of material found within 18th and 19th century


Language of Materials

Several languages, including English, French, German, Italian and Dutch

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

When consulting the material the Regulations for users of the Library of the University of Amsterdam applies. Reproductions and fees for reproduction rights in accordance with the Pricelist for services rendered by the Library of the University of Amsterdam.

The material in this collection is only available for perusal.

Biographical / Historical

Arnold Heertje was born in a Jewish family in Breda on 19 February 1934. He grew up in Arnhem. In the war, he and his parents, brother and sister had to go into hiding, with all members of the family surviving the war. Heertje’s last hiding address was with a family of flower bulb growers in Nieuw-Vennep. This experience also formed the basis for his interest in economics, affected as he was by the family’s poverty.

In 1951 he took up the study of economics at the University of Amsterdam, graduating with honours in 1956 and also obtaining his PhD degree with honours under Pieter de Wolff and Pieter Hennipman with a dissertation on Enkele aspecten van de prijsvorming van consumptiegoederen op monopolistische en oligopolistische markten (Some aspects of the pricing of consumer goods in monopolistic and oligopolistic markets) in 1961.

As a student and during his PhD research studies Heertje worked as an economics teacher at the Jewish Maimonides Lyceum in Amsterdam. From 1964 he was Professor of Political Economy at the Law Faculty of the University of Amsterdam, later also endowed Professor of Economic History at its Economic Faculty. He was affiliated with Yale University and Cambridge University as a guest researcher. He was co-founder of the Pieter Hennipman Stichting, which aims to promote the thought of Pieter Hennipman. Heertje retired in 2006.

Arnold Heertje is the author of a great number of books and articles in the field of economics, including De Kern van de Economie (first edition 1962), the textbook for senior general secondary (HAVO) and university preparatory (VWO) education which was long regarded as a classic work for secondary schools. Arnold Heertje has always remained committed to the Jewish cause. Together with his wife Rebekka Halberstadt he was a loyal visitor to the Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum) in Amsterdam, especially the Joods Museum Junior. Arnold Heertje had three sons. He passed away in Naarden on 4 April 2020.


ca. 3500 items

Abstract in English

The economist, professor and writer Arnold Heertje (1934-2020) spent a large part of his life collecting books, pamphlets, letters and manuscripts in the field of economics. The collection now in the Allard Pierson is limited to printed books and pamphlets and contains circa 3,500 items. The Heertje library is known worldwide as one of the foremost collections in the field of economic history. The works of all major economic writers are here represented, often in rare first editions, or copies annotated by the author or other major scientists, such as the first edition of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Karl Marx’ Das Kapital. After Heertje’s death the library was managed by the Stichting tot Beheer van de Heertje Bibliotheek.

Abstract in Dutch

Arnold Heertje (1934-2020), econoom, hoogleraar en publicist, besteedde een groot deel van zijn leven aan het verzamelen van boeken, pamfletten, brieven en manuscripten op het gebied van de economie. De collectie die zich nu in het Allard Pierson bevindt bevat alleen de gedrukte boeken en pamfletten en bestaat uit circa 3500 items. De Heertje-bibliotheek staat wereldwijd bekend als een van de belangrijkste op het terrein van de economische geschiedenis. De werken van alle grote economische schrijvers zijn erin vertegenwoordigd, vaak in zeldzame eerste edities of voorzien van aantekeningen van de auteur of van andere belangrijke wetenschappers, zoals de eerste druk van Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, Adam Smith’s The wealth of nations, David Ricardo’s Principles of political economy en Karl Marx’ Das Kapital. Na de dood van Heertje werd de bibliotheek beheerd door de Stichting tot Beheer van de Heertje Bibliotheek.

Physical Location

Allard Pierson, University of Amsterdam

Custodial History

The collection was amassed by Prof. Arnold Heertje. After Heertje’s death the library was managed by the Stichting tot Beheer van de Heertje Bibliotheek. The collection was housed in the Heertje family home until it was transferred to the Allard Pierson.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given on loan to the Allard Pierson on 20 October 2021 by the Stichting tot Beheer van de Heertje Bibliotheek. The loan may become a permanent donation after two years if a number of conditions are met.


There are no expected additions.

Related Materials

The Allard Pierson also manages the Archief van Pieter Hennipman, the Collectie H.P.G. Quack and collections of lecture notes on economics and jurisprudence by J.H.H Hülsmann, H.S. Houthakker and A.A. Konijn.


  • Arnold Heertje, 'Collecting rare economics books' in: Contributions to Political Economy (1990), no. 9, p. 99-105.
  • Arnold Heertje, Echte economie, een verhandeling over schaarste en welvaart en over het geloof in leermeesters en lernen, 2006.
  • Arnold Heertje (Wikipedia). Internet, consulted 27-07-2022.
  • Bas Jacobs and Rick van der Ploeg, 'Arnold Heertje (1934-2020), eigenzinnige econoom die niet reproduceerbaar is' in: Economisch-statistische Berichten (ESB), 105 (4785), 14 mei 2020, p. 250-252.
  • Emile Schrijver, In memoriam prof. dr. Arnold Heertje (1934-2020).

Processing Information

The publications were entered in the Catalogue of the University of Amsterdam in 2022.

Description of the Arnold Heertje collection, 1561-ca. 1990
Judith Grootendorst, translated by Cis van Heertum
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection has been made accessible thanks to financial support from the Stichting tot Beheer van de Heertje Bibliotheek.

Repository Details

Part of the Allard Pierson Repository

Oude Turfmarkt 127-129
Amsterdam 1012 GC Nederland