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The Damesleesmuseum (Ladies’ Reading Museum) is a library established for women in 1894 by twelve young women from the upper circles of society in The Hague in the 19th century during the first wave of feminism. The aim of the DLM was to offer its members the opportunity to read newspapers and books in peace and quiet. This library started off with 146 members and had a collection of 494 books in 1896.
What is extraordinary about the DLM is that – working to a virtually unchanged formula – it still exists. It is the only reading circle in the Netherlands with its own extensive library that operates independently. The library’s collection of more than 30,000 titles is the result of selections made by a procession of ‘reading committees’.
The membership of this unique institute is not (as the name may suggest) exclusively female. More info …