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The museum owes its name and creation to two book collectors: Baron Willem Hendrik Jacob and Johan Meerman. The museum has a collection of books from all periods of Western history, printed items after 1850, as well as exhibits such as an old-fashioned printing machine.
The beginning of the collection dates back to 1852, when Willem expanded his cousin's collection and decided to found a museum. The museum is partly a personal monument to Meerman and today focuses primarily on written and printed books in all forms, and the theme of the collection is the shape and design of the covers. Here is the largest collection of books in the Netherlands.
The place also attracts tourists due to the accurate reproduction and maintenance of the 18th-century interior of the Herenhuis building with period furniture and collector's items. It was once the home of Willem Hendrik Jacob, Baron van Westreenen van Tiellandt.