Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations


The IISH collections comprise archive, library and audio-visual material with a thematic emphasis on social and emancipatory movements. The Institute holds over 4,000 archives, more than 1,000,000 printed volumes, and an equivalent number of audio-visual items including posters.

Collection development at the IISH focuses increasingly on digital archives and data. In social-economic history, the Institute has become one of the world’s greatest data centres as well, devising new techniques for enabling methodologically innovative research.


All the collections can be accessed through the IISH catalogue -

For information on specific materials, go to:

The collection is also available through OAI-PMH and SRU/SRW. More on the API page.


Long-term archive preservation: taking IISH policy to the 2017 next level in 2017 (pdf)


  • For information on the main themes and regions in the Institute's collections, go to collection guides
  • For information on consulting and availability of collections, go to Services or contact the Reading Room staff at
  • IISH Mission Statement on the general collection profile


Collection highlights are given special attention. See also:

Search portals

The IISH collections can also be searched and browsed together with other collections in the following large search portals:

  • Social History Portal, digital collections on social history and the history of the labour movement
  • Europeana, European cultural heritage portal
  • WorldCat, the world's largest network of library content and services
  • Archives Portal Europe, access to information on archival material from different European countries
  • Adamnet, network and catalogue of libraries in Amsterdam


Read more about projects related to collections, e.g. Hope, Hitime, and The 'Centrale' digitization.


We welcome supplements to the collections. For donations or deposits please contact one of the collections staff members.


Copies from collection items can be ordered through the IISH catalogue.